Deutsche Bahn employees announce 3-day nationwide strike
Update: Deutsche Bahn's 50-hour warning strike has now been called off, but some services will still be affected.
The EVG trade union has announced that employees at Deutsche Bahn will go on strike between Sunday and Tuesday, bringing all long-distance, DB regional trains and freight transport to a halt for 50 hours.
EVG announces 50-hour train strike in Germany
All long-distance trains, regional transport and freight trains run by DB, as well as traffic run by 50 other rail companies in Germany, will come to a standstill across all German federal states between 10pm on May 14 and 12am on May 16.
The Warnstreik ("warning strike") will be the third this year, with the union demanding a 12 percent pay rise of at least 650 euros per month for around 180.000 DB employees. The EVG has also said that it wants to clarify certain questions about employees working for minimum wage at DB, reporting that around 2.000 DB employees have only received minimum wage via supplementary payments since minimum wage in Germany has increased faster than the company’s pay scales.
The next round of negotiations between the EVG and DB bosses is scheduled for May 23. Since negotiations have been so far unsuccessful, with the EVG accusing DB of not taking their employees' demands seriously, “The pressure is being increased significantly because the employers are leaving us no other choice,” EVG negotiator Kristian Loroch explained.
Similar pressure tactics were employed by the 5.000 regional transport workers in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein who drew their industrial action to a close on Tuesday after they were granted a 300-euro pay rise by the roughly 40 German transport associations who employ them. “Without the massive pressure from the unions, this result would not have been possible," said ver.di negotiator Volker Nüsse.
Deutsche Bahn bosses granted large bonuses in April
Last week, the most recent negotiation round ended with DB offering a 2.850-euro lump-sum payment to the 180.000 employees in lieu of the 650-euro pay rise for 12 months. The EVG rejected this offer as insufficient.
In a press release on May 11, Loroch added that “[The] strike is not an end in itself for us; whoever improves their offer in such a way that a target-oriented negotiation is possible, will not be subject to strike”.
The strike announcement comes at the same time as media reports that thousands of DB executives received bonuses totalling a three-digit sum in the millions at the end of April 2023. According to NDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung, these bonuses were reportedly paid to 30.000 employees, 3.800 of whom are managers.
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