The railway workers’ union EVG has approved Deutsche Bahn’s proposal for arbitration talks. They should solve the deadlocked tariff dispute. However, the union wants to hold on to the ballot on indefinite strikes.
After the failed collective bargaining round with Deutsche Bahn, the railway and transport union (EVG) now wants to start arbitration talks. The EVG announced after a meeting of the federal executive board that the state-owned company’s proposal for an arbitration procedure was accepted.
“After the negotiations failed, we declared that we would not object to such a procedure – now we are keeping our word,” said negotiator Kristian Loroch. The EVG is ready to start preparations for arbitration as soon as possible.
EVG warns of “hot autumn”
Nevertheless, the union is sticking to the announced ballot. “Our voting members at DB AG would vote on the result of the arbitration and thus also on the possibility of open-ended labor disputes,” says Loroch. He emphasized: “If the result is not convincing, there is a risk of a hot autumn, with massive effects on railways and buses in the Deutsche Bahn area.” According to its own statements, the EVG does not want to carry out any further warning strikes until the start of the arbitration.
Originally, the EVG board wanted to decide on the next industrial dispute at its meeting today. On Wednesday, Deutsche Bahn then suggested that external mediation be carried out in the deadlocked conflict. The EVG had recently decided to do this basically stated openly.
Term as one of the points of contention
The union negotiates for around 230,000 employees at around 50 rail and bus companies, including around 180,000 at Deutsche Bahn. The EVG had originally demanded twelve percent more wages, but at least 650 euros more per month – for a period of twelve months.
Deutsche Bahn had recently promised a “high fixed amount” and an additional inflation adjustment of 2850 euros net for a period of 27 months and further structural improvements.
EVG collective bargaining board member Cosima Ingenschay said last week that the status of negotiations with the railways was a fixed amount of 400 euros in two steps – in December 2023 and August 2024. This was not sufficient.