Looming rail strikes in Germany might happen in autumn

Source: RailFreight 
Date: 30th June 2023

Rail strikes in Germany might occur next autumn if negotiations between trade union EVG and Deutsche Bahn (DB) do not reach satisfactory results.

Striking in autumn rather than summer, according to the union, would cause fewer disruptions to passenger services during the holiday season. On the other hand, the rail freight industry keeps running around the clock and would thus be impacted no matter when the strikes happen.

Earlier this week, EVG announced that a decision on the strikes will be taken through a voting session involving its members. If 75 percent of the voters express their dissatisfaction with DB’s proposal, the union is ready to “continue to fight”, with a risk of massive strikes throughout the autumn.

EVG underlined that it is possible to reach agreements, at least with Non-federal railways (NE-Bahnen). As the union pointed out, an agreement with 10 of these companies was reached for a wage increase of 420 euros over the next 21 months. NE-Bahnen companies include, among others, Captain Germany, HLB Basis, and Eisenbahnen und Verkehrsbetriebe Elbe-Weser EVB.

EVG vs DB: a seemingly never-ending story
EVG has not disclosed when the voting will take place. The two negotiating parties had reached some initial agreements in the last couple of months, and EVG withdrew from a strike in May to continue negotiations in good faith. Despite them looking like getting gradually closer to each other and a final resolution, the latest developments prove otherwise. “There were irreconcilable differences on the matter of wage increases and the application timeframe of the collective bargaining agreement”, said EVG, which characterised the negotiations as a failure.

DB noted that the situation is “unbelievable” and that all partial agreements reached until now will be cancelled. “EVG threw away an almost finished agreement and reset everything to zero”, commented the state-owned company. Additionally, DB said that EVG seems unwilling to compromise, while the union stressed that the company needs to work harder to fulfil its demands which “are not impossible”.

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