German train drivers announce 30-hour strike from Thursday

German train drivers announce 30-hour strike from Thursday

The head of the German Train Drivers’ Union, Claus Weselsky, has announced that staff will begin a 30-hour strike on December 7 at 6pm, after continued unfruitful negotiations with Deutsche Bahn.

Deutsche Bahn train drivers begin strike on December 7

German train drivers are set to hold their second strike in recent weeks. From 6pm on December 7, freight train drivers will walk out, followed by passenger train drivers at 10pm. The strike is due to last until 10pm on Friday, December 8.

Anyone who has a ticket for a journey during the strike period has been advised by Deutsche Bahn to travel earlier on Thursday before the strike begins, or to delay their journey until after 10pm on Friday. Your existing ticket is valid for these earlier or later journeys.

GDL says there will be no industrial action over the Christmas period

Though the GDL is the smaller of the two unions at Deutsche Bahn, EVG being the biggest, the fact that a high number of GDL members are train drivers means that the union can greatly disrupt transportation during a strike.

The strike planned for Thursday is the second in recent weeks. A 20-hour-long walkout on November 15 brought Germany’s rail network to a standstill, with 80 percent of long-distance trains cancelled and some S-Bahn services disrupted. 

After there was discussion of further action over the Christmas holiday period, Weselsky announced on Wednesday that the GDL will not strike again before January 7, 2024.

Weselsky urges Deutsche Bahn to listen to employees

The strikes come amid ongoing negotiations between Deutsche Bahn bosses and the GDL union over increasing salaries and improving working conditions.

The GDL is demanding 555 euros more for employees each month, a 3.000-euro bonus to offset inflation price rises and reduced working hours from 38 hours to 35 per week with no pay cut. If they were accepted, these terms would be applied to 10.000 employees and would be applicable for 12 months.

So far, the rail operator has refused to accept any of the GDL’s demands, instead offering a gradual 11-percent pay increase over three years and a 2.850-euro inflation bonus, with no mention of reduced hours.

Responding to the strike announcement, Deutsche Bahn representative Martin Seiler called the action “irresponsible and selfish”. The strike action announcement also garnered criticism from the passenger association ProBahn, with President Detlef Neuß condemning the GDL for announcing the strike at such short notice - just the evening before the action rather than two days before the strike.

Weselsky urged Deutsche Bahn to listen to “the legitimate needs of their employees”. He added that Deutsche Bahn was “torpedoing urgently needed measures for successful staff recruitment [and] jeopardi[sing] the future of the most climate-friendly means of transport - the railway”.

Thumb image credit: Jiaye Liu /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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