Warning strike has started
Almost nothing goes on the rails anymore
4/21/2023 4:29 am
As announced, the employees of numerous German railway companies are going into industrial action. The trains are supposed to start rolling again from noon. At the same time there is also a strike at several airports.
In Germany, rail traffic largely came to a standstill in the morning as a result of a warning strike by the railway and transport union EVG. Since 3:00 a.m., employees of around 50 railway companies have been in industrial action, as an EVG spokesman confirmed in the early hours of the morning. “The shifts that are running now are going into the strike phase”. At the same time, the Verdi services union is continuing to strike at the airports in Hamburg, Cologne/Bonn and Düsseldorf – and from today, Friday, also at the airports in Stuttgart and Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden.
The walkout on the train should initially affect commuters in particular. It was initially unclear to what extent the after-work and weekend traffic would be affected later in the day. Deutsche Bahn will only let long-distance traffic roll from 1 p.m., but the group has already warned of possible impairments into the evening hours. The restart of regional traffic should tend to be faster after the planned end of the warning strike at 11 a.m.
Second strike in the current negotiation
Today’s warning strike is the second in the current collective bargaining dispute between the EVG and the railway companies. During the work stoppage on March 27, EVG and Verdi acted together and, in addition to local, regional and long-distance public transport, also paralyzed several airports in the Federal Republic. Nothing worked on the rails for hours – but there was no traffic chaos on the road due to the all-day strike at the end of March. Many people are obviously working from home or are adapting differently to the downtime.
Negotiations for new collective agreements have been underway since the end of February. The EVG is negotiating for 230,000 employees, 180,000 of whom work for Deutsche Bahn. However, the talks with the state-owned group did not get going from the start: the first appointment ended after only two hours, and at the second meeting, according to reports, only the respective points of view were exchanged.
The union wants to achieve a wage increase of at least 650 euros for the employees or twelve percent for the upper income earners, all of this with a term of the collective agreement of twelve months. The state-owned railway has recently been open to accepting the most recent arbitration award in the public service wage dispute as a guide for a railway-specific solution. The arbitration award initially provides for a tax and royalty-free inflation adjustment in several stages totaling 3,000 euros. From March 2024 there will then be a base amount of 200 euros and then a wage increase of 5.5 percent. The unions want to negotiate the proposal with the federal and local governments next weekend.
The EVG strictly refuses to accept the arbitration award as a further basis for negotiations. “We have to increase the pressure on employers who believe they can ignore the demands of their employees and instead want to conduct collective bargaining like landlords. That is not acceptable,” said the two EVG collective bargaining boards Cosima Ingenschay and Kristian Loroch to justify the renewed warning strike .
DB HR director Martin Seiler, on the other hand, described the warning strike as excessive and useless. “On Friday, the day of the week with the most travel, it hits many commuters particularly hard. EVG has completely lost its measure and center and only relies on riots,” said the manager. The next round of negotiations between EVG and DB is scheduled for next Tuesday in Fulda. The company Transdev tried on Thursday to stop the warning strike with an injunction. The labor court in Frankfurt rejected the applications on Thursday afternoon, according to a spokesman.
At the airports in Düsseldorf, Cologne/Bonn and Hamburg, the warning strikes by security personnel, which began on Thursday, will be continued on Friday. In addition, the Verdi union also called for a walkout at Stuttgart Airport. Verdi wants to increase the pressure on employers in negotiations for employees in the aviation security area, in passenger control, personnel and goods control and in service areas.
For some time now, the union has been negotiating with the Federal Association of Aviation Security Companies about surcharges for night, Saturday, Sunday and public holiday work, as well as regulations on overtime pay for security and service staff.