– The train drivers' union closes Germany for six days
A new test of patience in Deutsche Bahn: a strike in passenger transport is scheduled to begin on Wednesday evening and continue until Monday.
The GDL train drivers' union called on Deutsche Bahn employees to strike again. The union announced on Monday evening that this will begin transporting passengers early Wednesday morning at 2 a.m. and continue until Monday of next week at 6 p.m. Union members at DB Cargo, which is responsible for transporting goods, have been called to strike from Tuesday at 6pm. Difficult days await German passengers, with thousands of trains expected to be cancelled.
It was only on Friday that Deutsche Bahn made a new tariff offer to bring GDL back to the negotiating table. This also includes, among other things, the option to reduce working time by one hour for train drivers and train attendants as of January 1, 2026. However, it appears that this was not enough for new negotiations. “With the third and supposedly improved offer, Deutsche Bahn AG has once again demonstrated that it is unwilling to continue the previous path of rejection and confrontation – and there is no trace of any desire to reach an agreement,” the GDL statement said.
The railway defended its bid for GDL on Monday morning. “DB relies on concessions, and GDL significantly exacerbates the conflict,” a company spokesperson said. Anyone who does not come to the negotiating table when a new offer is made is acting in a completely irresponsible manner.
The industrial action announced now will be the fourth action in the ongoing collective bargaining dispute. Before the start of the year, GDL paralyzed large parts of passenger traffic in two warning strikes, which were followed in January by a three-day strike that had a similar effect. DB's human resources director Martin Sailer criticized on Friday that GDL was not using strikes as a last resort, but rather as a means of self-promotion.
The union wants to reduce working hours by three hours
The railroad's bid presented Friday provides 4.8 percent more money to employees starting in August and another 5 percent increase starting in April 2025. In addition, an inflation-compensation bonus is scheduled to be paid immediately after a potential collective bargaining agreement is reached. According to DB's offer, the duration should be 32 months.
The railways are also offering train drivers and train attendants the opportunity to reduce their working hours from 38 to 37 hours at the same salary starting January 1, 2026. According to the offer, anyone who decides not to reduce will instead receive 2.7 percent additional money. In total, employees who stuck to their current hours earned 13 percent more money in total with the offer than they do now. The GDL requires an additional €555 per month plus an inflation compensation bonus for 12 months.
According to public data, the most important thing for the union is to reduce the working hours of shift workers from 38 to 35 hours per week with full wage compensation. The railway considers the order unfeasible on this scale, also because too many new employees would be needed. There is already a shortage of skilled workers among train drivers and other railway professions.
The collective bargaining struggle between the railways and GDL has been continuing since the beginning of November. The GDL announced the failure of the talks after the second round of negotiations. There have been no negotiations since November 24. After a strike vote among GDL members, indefinite strikes are also possible.