German regional transport strikes to cease as workers secure 300-euro pay rise
Germany’s largest trade union, ver.di, has secured a 300-euro pay rise and 1.500-euro inflation compensation payment for 5.000 rail workers, ending the regular disruptions to regional transport seen in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bahn (DB) workers are preparing for a fourth round of negotiations at the end of May.
German rail workers win 300-euro pay rise
The strikes which immobilised regional transport across Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein in recent weeks will draw to a close after a pay deal was reached between ver.di, some 5.000 transport workers and the around 40 German transport associations that employ them.
Following negotiations, the 5.000 employees covered by the Eisenbahn-Tarifvertrag (ETV) will now receive a 300-euro per month increase in pay between October 2023 and September 2024, as well as a one-off, tax-free inflation compensation payment of 1.500 euros in June of this year.
Initially, ver.di was demanding an extra 550 euros of pay per month for the next 12 months and a trainee pay rise of 250 euros. Employees were first offered a one-off tax-fee payment of 1.080 euros and 12 monthly payments of 160, then a 150-euro pay increase from mid-2024, which the union rejected as insufficient.
Now, as well as the 300-euro per month pay rise and the inflation compensation that has been agreed upon for full-time employees, the union has negotiated a pay increase for trainee employees in the form of a 750-euro tax-free bonus and 150-euro per month pay rise between October 2023 and September 2024.
Union pressure paid off, says Volker Nüsse
After weeks of unsuccessful negotiations, ver.di upped the ante last week by announcing a new flurry of strikes across five federal states. “Without the massive pressure from the unions, this result would not have been possible," said ver.di negotiator Volker Nüsse.
"With the result, we have achieved a significant and swift increase in pay," Nüsse added in a press statement from the union. "In the lower and middle pay groups it means an increase of 9,3 to 13 percent and thus [provides] urgently needed relief in view of the high inflation."
The ETV deal is set to be finalised come May 26, after which, the union would no longer be able to re-open negotiations and is prohibited from calling another regional transport strike for ETV-covered workers for the next 18 months.
Deutsche Bahn staff still in pay negotiations
The 5.000 employees covered by the Eisenbahn-Tarifvertrag (ETV) now join Deutsche Post staff and transport workers employed by local governments, all of whom have secured pay rises with the support of ver.di since March 2023.
Meanwhile, Deutsche Bahn workers and EVG union representatives are still in negotiations with Deutsche Bahn AG. After a third, unsuccessful round of negotiations, EVG representative Cosmina Ingenschay told Süddeutsche Zeitung that since “Deutsche Bahn is obviously not interested in serious negotiations” the union may “bring the trains to a halt for weeks on end”.
With the fourth negotiation round scheduled for the end of May, travellers in Germany should be aware that national DB strikes could still disrupt their plans for long-distance travel.
Thumb image credit: frantic00 / Shutterstock.com