German rail union began second round of strikes

 Monday, August 23, 2021 

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rail in Germany

The train drivers union in Germany, GDL began the second round of strikes early Monday, extending their industrial action to passenger rail services, Deutsche Bahn (DB) announced.

This is the second time the union’s workers have walked out this year in a bitter dispute with Deutsche Bahn over wages, pensions and working conditions.

The strike began at 2 a.m. local time after the union rejected an offer by the state-owned rail operator to expand the scope of negotiations.

In addition to drivers, other railway workers have also been called on to walk out. The action will last 48 hours until 2 a.m. Wednesday.

Deutsche said that in regional and suburban rail traffic, DB is aiming for about 40% of train traffic. However, the number of trains will vary greatly depending on the region. The GDL has been on strike since Saturday which until Monday only affected freight services.

A two-day strike earlier this month disrupted both long-distance travel as well as many major cities’ commuter rail lines.

On Sunday, Deutsche Bahn made a last-ditch effort to ward off the strike. It offered to include a one-time “coronavirus bonus” — a premium for work amid the pandemic — to the list of topics under discussion.

The GDL rejected what it called a “sham offer,” and insisted that the strike on passenger lines will proceed as planned.

He said that the GDL needed a concrete proposal, “not the act of putting an offer up for discussion.” German train union is demanding a wage increase of 3.2%, a coronavirus bonus of €600 ($700) and better working conditions. The two sides are at odds over when the pay increases should take effect and the duration of the wage agreement.

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