German transport union threatens weeks of train strikes
After a third unsuccessful round of negotiations, Germany’s Rail and Transport Union (EVG) is threatening weeks of train strikes, pressuring bosses to increase employee salaries in line with inflation.
EVG could carry out weeks-long German train strikes
The past 10 days have seen transport strikes bring local and regional transport in five German states to a standstill, while Deutsche Bahn staff on long-distance trains and security staff at German airports also walked out over pay disputes.
Now, following an unsuccessful third round of negotiations, in an interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung EVG union representative Cosmina Ingenschay has warned, “We could bring the trains to a halt for weeks on end”.
“The effects obviously have to be greater to hurt the employer,” Ingenschay continued. For this reason, it is likely that coming strikes will be coordinated across large regions or that different kinds of employees, such as conductors or ticket collectors, take turns going on strike. “The rail system is so fragile, if we take out a few signal boxes everything will collapse”.
DB bosses aren’t interested in negotiating, says Ingenschay
Ingenschay pointed out that she didn’t believe the negotiations should have gotten to the stage where another strike was required. “But Deutsche Bahn is obviously not interested in serious negotiations,” the representative told Süddeutsche Zeitung.
On the other hand, Deutsche Bahn CEO Richard Lutz, blamed the EVG for dragging its feet, calling on the union to “continue negotiations without delay and not to drag out the collective bargaining round any further”.
The EVG demands 650 euros more per month over the next 12 months for employees. Last week, negotiations ended in an offer of a lump sum 2.850-euro payment for the 180.000 employees instead. The union rejected this offer as non-negotiable, pushing for an increase in wages more in line with current inflation rates in Germany, which are falling, but still remain high.
The next negotiation round between Deutsche Bahn AG and the EVG is scheduled for the end of May.
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