The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Train drivers’ strike on DB passenger services has begun

Accompanied by growing criticism, the train drivers of Deutsche Bahn (DB) have once again stopped work. The strike on passenger services began at 02:00 on Tuesday night and is set to last 24 hours, as a DB spokeswoman confirmed in the morning.

Trains on the Swiss rail network will run as planned, as SBB announced on the online portal X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday evening. The Swiss rail company advised against traveling to Germany during the strike.

Passengers in Germany must expect major restrictions. DB has organized an emergency timetable that will safeguard around a fifth of long-distance train services. Regional services and Deutsche Bahn's suburban trains are also affected. Services may vary greatly depending on the region. Even after the end of the strike on Wednesday, passengers can still expect train cancellations and delays. The freight transport strike began on Monday evening.

Sixth strike

This is already the sixth industrial action by the German Train Drivers' Union (GDL) in the current collective bargaining round. On Monday, Deutsche Bahn tried unsuccessfully to have the strike stopped by the courts - and then announced its intention to appeal to the Hessian State Labor Court.

The appeal is not due to be heard until Tuesday around midday - i.e. after the start of the strike. If the Hessian State Labor Court decides differently than the Frankfurt Labor Court, the GDL would have to suspend its strike. However, this would not mean an immediate end to the restrictions for passengers.

Short notice announcement

The previous GDL strike only ended on Friday last week, and the union then announced the next strike on Sunday evening. Business representatives criticized the actions as an abuse of the right to strike and a burden for Germany as a business location. Deutsche Bahn spoke of an imposition for millions of rail passengers and the economy.

The union is fighting for higher salaries and fewer working hours at Deutsche Bahn. The sticking point in the conflict is still the demand that shift workers only have to work 35 hours in future for the same pay instead of the current 38 hours. Deutsche Bahn had accepted a compromise proposal in a mediation process. This provided for working hours to be reduced to 36 hours in two stages by 2028. The GDL rejected the proposal and caused the talks to fail. It now no longer announces new strikes 48 hours in advance, but at shorter notice. The GDL and its chairman Claus Weselsky have not ruled out strikes over Easter either.

©Keystone/SDA

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