DB strike wave ends after drivers win 35-hour week from 2029

DB strike wave ends after drivers win 35-hour week from 2029

The German Train Drivers’ Union (GDL) and Deutsche Bahn have announced that they have settled on a new collective bargaining agreement, bringing months of train strikes to an end.

GDL union wins drivers gradual 35-hour week with no pay cut

After regular strikes since November 2023, Deutsche Bahn has agreed to give GDL union members a 35-hour week with no pay cut.

The new conditions will be introduced gradually, with drivers able to work 36 hours per week with no pay cut from the start of 2027, 35,5 hours per week from 2028 and then 35 hours from 2029. Drivers who would still like to work 40-hour weeks can continue to do so and will get a 2,7 percent pay rise for every hour over 35 hours per week that they continue to work.

During the strike wave, the GDL increased pressure on Deutsche Bahn, disrupting long-distance trains and S-Bahn traffic in historically long strikes after the international company consistently refused to offer a reduced working week with no pay cut. Under the new agreement, alongside the option for reduced hours, employees will receive a monthly wage increase of 420 euros, which will be gradually introduced in two stages, as well as a one-off 2.850 euro bonus to offset inflation.

GDL and DB enter peace agreement until February 2026

With the collective bargaining dust now settled and the new agreement in place for the next 26 months, the GDL and Deutsche Bahn have entered a peace agreement until February 2026. This means that Deutsche Bahn train drivers cannot strike until February 2026. 

However, the GDL is the smaller of two unions which represent Deutsche Bahn employees, the EVG is the biggest and represents other kinds of employees in the transportation sector, such as signalling staff and ticket inspectors.

The latest EVG collective bargaining agreement was settled in August 2023 and will be in place until March 2025, meaning that Deutsche Bahn could be affected by strikes around this period. But until March 2025, the rail company is unlikely to see widespread industrial action.

In the meantime, negotiations between Lufthansa, the company’s cabin crew and security ground staff continue the surge in strikes which Germany has seen across many sectors in recent months.

Thumb image credit: Kapi Ng /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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