Frankfurt train station on August 23, 2021, as Germany is hit by a strike by train drivers. – Armando BABANI Â © 2019 AFP

German train drivers on Monday called for a new national strike starting this week, longer than the previous two movements, as wage negotiations with the operator’s management public Deutsche Bahn are at a standstill. The freight strike will start on Wednesday, followed the next day by that in passenger traffic, said GDL union leader Claus Weselsky. The move is expected to end Tuesday morning next week.

“This new strike does not bring us closer to a collective agreement” and the management of the GDL union “only aims to extend its power to the detriment of travelers and the economy,” said said Martin Seiler, director of personnel at Deutsche Bahn, in a statement. This is the third social movement of public company train drivers since August 10.

The union is demanding a 3.2% wage increase as well as a “coronavirus” bonus of 600 euros and better working conditions. The railway company for its part proposed a 3.2% increase in wages paid in two installments, that is to say during 2022 and 2023, and demands a longer duration of the collective agreement until June 2024 She also said she was ready to pay a “coronavirus” bonus but did not give a precise figure.

As in previous strikes, the company intends to ensure an alternative traffic plan, amounting to offering 25% of normal traffic on long-distance links and 40% on regional and local links.

The last major social conflict took place between 2014 and 2015. For about nine months, the GDL union had organized nine strikes of several days each, to demand a reform of the rules of representation. In May 2015, a six-day strike had thus become the longest in the company’s history.

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