EVG and DB fail once again to reach a wage agreement

Image: EVG

The clock is ticking in Germany, with EVG and DB failing again to reach a collective wage bargaining agreement. DB came up with a new offer that EVG rejected since it did not fulfil two basic requests: the 650-euro wage increase for all employees and the 12 euros per hour minimum wage threshold from where all wage increases should be implemented.

Deutsche Bahn criticised EVG for setting harsh prerequisites without negotiating them. At the same time, EVG responded that it does not understand why DB does not proceed with a wage increase (650 euros) that other employers in Germany have already adopted. With another negotiation round being fruitless, everyone in Germany holds their breath for the aftermath that could see the most extensive railway industrial action since 1992 taking place in Germany.

DB’s new offer

Deutsche Bahn presented an arguably improved offer to EVG compared to the last one from a month ago. Specifically, the group offered the following:

  • A ten per cent linear wage increase for lower and middle incomes (around 60 per cent of employees, including trainees and dual students) in two steps: 5 per cent more from March 2024 and another 5 per cent more from August 2024.
  • Eight per cent linear wage increase for upper-income earners (around 40 per cent of employees) in two steps: 4 per cent more from March 2024, another 4 per cent more from August 2024.
  • 2,850 euros additional inflation adjustment for everyone: 1,250 euros in June 2023, then 200 euros monthly from July 2023 to February 2024.
  • Introduction of a railway-specific minimum wage of 13 euros, adjustment of regional wage differences.

All changes should be implemented within a 27-month timeframe starting from March 2023 and ending in June 2025.

Still a long way to go

EVG recognised that the offer was better this time; however, it deemed it as non-negotiable. The main points of criticism of the association concerned the general wage increase demanded for all employees. EVG collective bargaining board member Cosima Ingenschay said that the inflation bonus of 2,850 euros is like an “ice cube in the desert” and that increased living costs for railway employees could only be covered with a substantial monthly wage increase.

On top of that, the minimum hourly wage is still a problem. EVG demands that all wage raises begin from a 12 euros per hour minimum wage. Currently, this is not the minimum wage for all employees. The association pointed out that “in the end, there will be no wage increase at all for the lowest wage groups since all increases will be offset against the statutory minimum wage of 12 euros”.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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