Deutsche Bahn (DB) believes that the leadership of the GDL train drivers' union has completely overstepped the mark by announcing a third strike. The company said that there was no substantive justification for the latest round of industrial action and that customers and businesses were the victims of the union's calculations as it sought to expand its membership and increase its power. DB once again called on GDL to start serious negotiations immediately and said that it had made an offer everyone could work with.
The union announced today that its members in DB's freight transport business would stop work at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, 1 September, and that its members in passenger transport and infrastructure would stop work at 2:00 am on Thursday, 2 September. All strike action would continue until 2:00 am on 7 September. Normal services are set to resume when daily operations start on 7 September.
"Collective agreements are the product of negotiations," said DB's HR head Martin Seiler. "They do not work if one party simply dictates the terms to the other party. If GDL really wants a solution, then it has to finally come to the negotiating table." Seiler said that DB had made further improvements to its offer, and that it would be possible to come to an agreement quickly. "This new strike brings us no closer to a collective agreement. GDL's leaders are only interested in amassing more power, and passengers and businesses are paying the price." Seiler also warned of the damage that the GDL strike could do to DB and had a message for the union's leaders: "Stop pitting employees against one another!"
One week ago, the company included the prospect of a pandemic-related bonus in its offer. Its current position envisages a 3.2% wage increase in two stages, as demanded by GDL. Pay would rise by 1.5% on 1 January 2022 and by a further 1.7% on 1 March 2023. Taking its lead from the public sector's agreement for airport staff, DB has offered an agreement that would run until 30 June 2024. The agreement also includes greater protection against dismissal, provisions for thousands of new hires and an industry-leading pension scheme.
Information for customers: DB to continue to run basic services throughout GDL strike
Travellers will once again be able to rely on solid basic services during the GDL strike. Approximately 25% of long-distance trains will continue to operate from 2 to 6 September. DB is aiming to keep about 40% of regional and S-Bahn trains running this time around as well. Despite these measures, the number of trains in operation will vary considerably between regions.
Nevertheless, DB advises people to reschedule travel to before or after the strike if this is possible. To make things easier for travellers, the company has again put a special policy in place. It has extended the validity of all long-distance tickets for routes affected by the strike during the 2-7 September period. These tickets can be used for travel at any time from 30 August to 17 September, a total of 19 days. Passengers with saver and super saver fares are not restricted to using the trains specified on their tickets. They can instead make their journeys using other trains, including local services (RE, RB, IRE and S-Bahn). Passengers can also have their tickets refunded free of charge if this is the best option for them.
Anyone who is unable to reschedule a trip should make sure to reserve a seat. Passengers can transport bicycles on long-distance trains only if they have reserved a bicycle space on board. Any long-distance passenger who has a bicycle space booking for a train that is cancelled can again use DB's offer to ship their bicycle free of charge via the company's luggage service.
Work is currently underway to identify which trains will run and which services will be cancelled. Details will be added successively to DB's timetables and information channels. The replacement timetable for long-distance connections will be available in the timetable information feature on bahn.de and in the DB Navigator app from 7:00 am on Tuesday, 31 August. Information will also be available from the free strike hotline at 08000 99 66 33 (within Germany), which will open at 7:00 pm today.
Regarding DB's freight services, DB Cargo will coordinate with customers to prioritise trains and work to deliver consignments on schedule, particularly those that are critical for supply chains.
DB regrets the service restrictions the strike may cause in freight and passenger transport. The company once again plans to do everything in its power to minimise the strike's impact, but customers should be prepared for restrictions to service.