Deutsche Bahn fears ‘massive impact’ of planned strike
Unions in Germany are planning a major strike on Monday, which is expected to affect trains, trams, buses and flight traffic. The unions want an increase in pay. Deutsche Bahn (DB) in a statement released on Thursday said the timing of the strikes is inappropriate and will have “a disproportionate impact on travellers”.
The planned strike is called by EVG on behalf of DB staff, representing 230.000 employees, and Verdi, which represents public transport companies and the airport workers, representing 2,5 million employees. DB called the proposed strike “baseless and unnecessary”. The company also notes that it is ready to talk at any time.
DB also points to the fact that it recently submitted an offer, and that the next scheduled date for negotiations is at the end of April. “To strike now and not negotiate for four weeks, the unions can’t be serious about that”, personnel director Martin Seiler said in a statement. Bargaining with EVG began at the end of February, with DB’s first offer tabled last week. It includes, the operator claims, a minimum wage of 13 euros per hour and the harmonisation of regional wages, as per the union’s request.
“It is clear to us that there has to be a proper agreement”, says Seiler. “It’s about a good balance: about recognition and higher wages, but also about the future viability of DB.”
The railway company fears the planned walkout will have a “massive impact” on rail operations across Germany. DB is scrambling to provide passengers with travel information at the earliest convenience. It is also working on a financial compensation scheme for travellers affected by planned strike, which comes at a moment when DB is under increased scrutiny following a damning report by the Federal Court of Audit. The state agency called the rail company a “business in crisis”, more and more overloaded with problems, saying DB does not meet customer requirements for punctuality and reliability, and that fundamental reforms are essential.
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