German rail workers strike again, and hard this time

Warning strike announcement EVG 11 May 2023 EVG

Another round of railway strikes are to be held in Germany. Members of labour union EVG are called upon to stop working from Sunday, 14 May 10 pm up to Tuesday, 16 May midnight. “Especially in the cargo area, the long walkout will have noticeable consequences”, EVG warns.

The 50 hours of strike are the result of an ongoing dispute between the labour union and Deutsche Bahn over wages. It will be the third round of strikes after another long round of negotiations, resulting in nothing but accusations and insults from either side.

Deutsche Bahn refers to “an insane strike that is completely unreasonable and completely excessive”. EVG in turn says Deutsche Bahn “made it clear that they want to continue to disadvantage people in the lowest salary brackets”.

The wage dispute

The latest round of toss and turn started on Wednesday 10 May, when Deutsche Bahn sent out a statement claiming that it made a historically high offer and fulfilled a central demand of the union.

“The issue of the minimum wage has been cleared up”, said HR Director Martin Seiler. “We have met the EVG again. Announcing strikes as a result is completely exaggerated and completely disproportionate. 10 per cent are on the table, the highest offer in DB history.”

However, according to EVG the matter had not been cleared up at all. “It is correct that the 12 euro minimum wage should now be on the table, but this will be associated with renewed restrictions. For everyone who earns the least at DB AG, the limit would be 13 euros, no matter how high the wage increase would actually be”, it said this morning.

Deutsche Bahn responded to this accusation with another statement explaining that it did not propose a cap of 13 euros. “The present offer alone amounts to 13.20 euros. But despite renewed concessions, the EVG wants to go on strike. A 10 per cent wage increase and the full inflation compensation premium are also already on the table.”

Problem far from being solved

And thus there is still little agreement on Thursday, except for the fact that the parties are still far from putting the matter to rest. “At first glance, our demands appear to have been met. In their letter to the EVG, however, the negotiators at Deutsche Bahn make it clear that they want to continue to disadvantage people in the lowest salary brackets. Hourly wages should under no circumstances exceed the industry minimum wages that are defined as the minimum in the industry anyway”, EVG negotiator Kristian Loroch explains.

The EVG insists that the minimum wage is capped at 13 euros by Deutsche Bahn. “This restriction is unacceptable for us, there will be no two-class society with us. Nobody understands that there should be restrictions on wage increases for those who earn the least. The offer is non-negotiable for us.”

HR Director Martin Seiler in turn says that Deutsche Bahn has opened the doors wide and blames the EVg for obstructing further progress. “It absolutely does not want to negotiate and instead wants to dictate a tariff. Everyone knows that negotiations are about compromise. Apparently, the management of the EVG is not concerned with an appropriate and responsible result for the employees, but with the power struggle of the unions.”

Impact on freight

A significant impact on pan-European freight traffic must be expected, Deutsche Bahn acknowledged. “Six out of ten European freight corridors use the German rail network.”

Whereas the impact on passengers is often seen right away, the impact on rail freight is evident on the long term and for a longer time. Delays on the network have an aftermath on the entire supply chains and even a single day can result in days of turbulence. Considering the fact that the German railway network is currently already experiencing limited capacity due to construction works, the strikes extra painful.

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Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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German rail workers strike again, and hard this time | RailFreight.com

German rail workers strike again, and hard this time

Warning strike announcement EVG 11 May 2023 EVG

Another round of railway strikes are to be held in Germany. Members of labour union EVG are called upon to stop working from Sunday, 14 May 10 pm up to Tuesday, 16 May midnight. “Especially in the cargo area, the long walkout will have noticeable consequences”, EVG warns.

The 50 hours of strike are the result of an ongoing dispute between the labour union and Deutsche Bahn over wages. It will be the third round of strikes after another long round of negotiations, resulting in nothing but accusations and insults from either side.

Deutsche Bahn refers to “an insane strike that is completely unreasonable and completely excessive”. EVG in turn says Deutsche Bahn “made it clear that they want to continue to disadvantage people in the lowest salary brackets”.

The wage dispute

The latest round of toss and turn started on Wednesday 10 May, when Deutsche Bahn sent out a statement claiming that it made a historically high offer and fulfilled a central demand of the union.

“The issue of the minimum wage has been cleared up”, said HR Director Martin Seiler. “We have met the EVG again. Announcing strikes as a result is completely exaggerated and completely disproportionate. 10 per cent are on the table, the highest offer in DB history.”

However, according to EVG the matter had not been cleared up at all. “It is correct that the 12 euro minimum wage should now be on the table, but this will be associated with renewed restrictions. For everyone who earns the least at DB AG, the limit would be 13 euros, no matter how high the wage increase would actually be”, it said this morning.

Deutsche Bahn responded to this accusation with another statement explaining that it did not propose a cap of 13 euros. “The present offer alone amounts to 13.20 euros. But despite renewed concessions, the EVG wants to go on strike. A 10 per cent wage increase and the full inflation compensation premium are also already on the table.”

Problem far from being solved

And thus there is still little agreement on Thursday, except for the fact that the parties are still far from putting the matter to rest. “At first glance, our demands appear to have been met. In their letter to the EVG, however, the negotiators at Deutsche Bahn make it clear that they want to continue to disadvantage people in the lowest salary brackets. Hourly wages should under no circumstances exceed the industry minimum wages that are defined as the minimum in the industry anyway”, EVG negotiator Kristian Loroch explains.

The EVG insists that the minimum wage is capped at 13 euros by Deutsche Bahn. “This restriction is unacceptable for us, there will be no two-class society with us. Nobody understands that there should be restrictions on wage increases for those who earn the least. The offer is non-negotiable for us.”

HR Director Martin Seiler in turn says that Deutsche Bahn has opened the doors wide and blames the EVg for obstructing further progress. “It absolutely does not want to negotiate and instead wants to dictate a tariff. Everyone knows that negotiations are about compromise. Apparently, the management of the EVG is not concerned with an appropriate and responsible result for the employees, but with the power struggle of the unions.”

Impact on freight

A significant impact on pan-European freight traffic must be expected, Deutsche Bahn acknowledged. “Six out of ten European freight corridors use the German rail network.”

Whereas the impact on passengers is often seen right away, the impact on rail freight is evident on the long term and for a longer time. Delays on the network have an aftermath on the entire supply chains and even a single day can result in days of turbulence. Considering the fact that the German railway network is currently already experiencing limited capacity due to construction works, the strikes extra painful.

Also read:

You just read one of our premium articles free of charge

Want full access? Take advantage of our exclusive offer

See the offer

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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Log in through one of the following social media partners to comment.