German Train Drivers’ Union pauses strike for negotiations

German Train Drivers’ Union pauses strike for negotiations

The German Train Drivers’ Union (GDL) has paused industrial action until further notice as representatives reenter a negotiation with Deutsche Bahn bosses, the outcome of which will be announced this week.

GDL pauses Deutsche Bahn strikes amid negotiations

After reentering a negotiation period with Deutsche Bahn on March 16, the GDL has announced that it is pausing any strike action until further notice.

According to a press statement from the GDL, the current talks have been “intensive but constructive” with an agreement reached “on many topics”. Though details of the agreement are yet to be announced, the statement marks a turning point after months of regular strikes and just over two weeks of a more unpredictable wave of strikes following a negotiation deadlock.

Since November, the main sticking point in negotiations has been the GDL’s demand for a shorter working week, down from 38 to 35 hours, with the same pay. The union said that the outcome of the current negotiation round will be announced this week.

German strike law comes under scrutiny following DB chaos

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

And since GDL members were just one of many groups negotiating new collective bargaining agreements and striking in recent months, others include Lufthansa staff, doctors, bus and tram drivers, the industrial action was particularly effective in causing disruption.

Following this convergence of disruption critics, including FDP general secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai, CDU / CSU politicians and the broadsheet Frankfurter Allgemeine, called on Olaf Scholz to restrict industrial action in critical infrastructure, prompting the chancellor to address the issue on the Bundestag floor last week. 

"The right to strike is written in the constitution [...] and that is a democratic right for which unions and workers have fought," said Scholz, adding that Germany was one of the European countries with the fewest strike days per year.

Thumb image credit: Markus Mainka /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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