After two days of strike: rail traffic starts up again

The first question that commuters and travelers ask themselves on Friday: is my train going today?

After 48 hours of chaos on strikes, the good news comes: Most trains on Deutsche Bahn are running according to plan in the morning. The bad news: the wage conflict has not yet been resolved.

After the two-day train drivers’ strike, most of the trains in Germany are back to normal. The traffic started as normal in the early morning, said a spokesman for Deutsche Bahn in Berlin, but there could still be some restrictions. “We ask our passengers to find out more in the digital information media of Deutsche Bahn before starting their journey,” he said.

The union of German locomotive drivers (GDL) ended its strike in passenger and freight traffic at 2 a.m. The GDL wants to enforce higher pay and better working conditions with the strike. Further strikes are possible, but there should be no actions this weekend. The GDL wants to discuss the next steps in the coming week.

According to the union, the infrastructure was also affected by the strike, which had already started in freight traffic on Tuesday evening. For the first time there was a strike in six interlocking companies, as well as in parts of the workshops and the administration. According to information provided by the railway, the greatly reduced replacement schedule could be operated, and about a quarter of the otherwise usual journeys were offered in long-distance traffic.

The union wants to take stock of its strike on Friday morning at 11 a.m. in Berlin. The strike is celebrated beforehand, and the members are strong: the solidarity of the members across all professional groups has been enormous. “You all showed Deutsche Bahn the red card.”

The negotiator sees it differently: According to Deutsche Bahn, only around 5,400 of the total of 19,700 train drivers took part in the strike. In addition, only 120 employees in signal boxes, maintenance and service at stations were on strike. This shows that in the infrastructure, contrary to what the GDL intended, “almost no one went on strike,” said a railway spokeswoman.

But it was definitely enough for 48-hour frustration for rail customers.

At least on Friday the travelers breathed a sigh of relief. In the morning it was reported from the regions that train traffic has normalized. In the east of the republic, which was particularly hard hit by the strike, no more failures are to be expected, said a railroad spokesman. “On the whole, it looks very good.”

In Hamburg, the S-Bahn were back on schedule. At the Berlin S-Bahn, operations had started very well, it said. There are only a few restrictions on two lines.

Further strikes threaten

The only question is when the next strike will lead to chaos for travelers and commuters. Because the conflict is far from being resolved.

The GDL union is calling for a wage increase of 3.2 percent. However, it is disputed when the increase will take effect and how long the new collective agreement should apply. Company pensions are also a contentious issue.

Deutsche Bahn wants to keep the costs of the collective bargaining agreement low because it incurred high losses in the Corona crisis. In addition, the federal government, as the owner, has also demanded savings in the group in return for billions in aid.

There is still a lot of explosive in the negotiations. Rail customers can then suffer again. Because the GDL does not want to accept a zero round, it also demands a corona premium of 600 euros. Union leader Claus Weselsky is threatening strikes again if Deutsche Bahn does not submit an improved offer.


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