In the deadlocked wage dispute of Deutsche Bahn, the German Train Drivers' Union (GDL) has now also intervened – with its own demands, which once again clearly exceed the demands of the railway workers' union EVG. The union is calling for a "general pay increase" of 555 euros per month and a tax-free inflation compensation premium of 3000,<> euros, chairman Claus Weselsky said at a press conference in Berlin on Monday.

Corinna Budras

Business correspondent in Berlin.

  • Follow I follow

With a term of "a maximum of twelve months", as demanded by the GDL, these two items alone would add up to 805 euros per month. In comparison, the EDC is demanding a wage increase of 12 percent, but at least 650 euros per month. In the case of the GDL, there are also demands for a higher employer's share of the company pension scheme and a reduction in working hours from 38 to 35 hours per week – with full pay.

With the demands, the GDL wants to set its own accents. In particular, with its clear demand for a tax- and duty-free inflation compensation premium, it clearly stands out from the EDC. The latter has always rejected the one-off payments with the argument that it wants to enforce sustainable increases in the table.

Collective bargaining agreements with smaller competitors of the railways expire

At present, Deutsche Bahn is fully concentrating on collective bargaining with EVG, which is negotiating wage increases for around 180,000 employees. After a scandal last week, the two parties resumed talks on Monday afternoon. The demands of the train drivers have no direct impact on the current wage dispute with the EVG, until the end of October the train drivers are still obliged to maintain peace and thus a ban on strikes. Only then will the current collective agreement for around 10,000 railway employees expire.

The GDL has published its demands so early because the collective agreements with smaller competitors of the railway expire at the end of June. Deutsche Bahn was decidedly tight-lipped. "We have taken note of the GDL's demands and will examine and evaluate them in due course," a spokeswoman said.

The GDL's announcement that it will act as a kind of competitor to the railways via a cooperative is also likely to attract attention. "We are now assuming responsibility and have founded Fair Train e.G., a company that offers fair conditions in the field of temporary employment for train drivers," Weselsky explained. The aim of the cooperative is to provide professionally qualified train drivers and to let the resulting profits flow to the cooperative members themselves, "instead of watching as the board members of DB AG fill their pockets," Weselsky complains. "It is not enough to want to initiate the transport turnaround if you do not create special incentives for the professions with shift work and let them degenerate as the dirty child in the job ranking, as has been the case up to now."