Another offer, another rejection: massive rail strikes Germany nearby

Photo: Pixabay. Dominik Schraudolf

Despite the optimism on the side of Deutsche Bahn (DB) last week, the negotiations with labour union EVG seem to have reached rock bottom. EVG has rejected the DB offer and in response, the German railway company left the negotiation table. The threat of nationwide strikes is once again looming.

“We rejected Deutsche Bahn’s offer as socially unfair. One reason: the planned percentage scale puts the lower wage staff at a disadvantage. In addition, DB AG still does not respond to essential points of our demands”, the Eisenbahn- und Verkehrsgewerkschaft (EVG) said on Tuesday 30 May, the last day of the ultimatum.

The latest offer

Deutsche Bahn last week put a proposal on the table including a detailed wage increase plan, structured along income groups. It offered a 12% linear wage increase for lower incomes, a 10% linear wage increase for middle earners and an 8% linear wage increase for higher incomes, all in two steps. It also offered an inflation compensation premium of 2,850 euros to be paid this year.

“It’s simply dishonest to constantly claim that a sensational 12% is being offered and that an agreement must therefore be possible. In fact, DB AG is not even offering 5% for the next twelve months”, said EVG, referring to the two-step structure.

“This means real wage losses for bus and train workers. In addition, the people who earn the least at Deutsche Bahn are disadvantaged. That’s why our colleagues are demanding a fixed amount for everyone, by which wages should increase every month.”


Deutsche Bahn however considered the offer generous. “We are stretching ourselves enormously”, it said last week. “This is a more than attractive and unprecedented package for our employees. Thanks to the triad, the offer has a very strong social component, which is exactly what the union is demanding. In addition, there is already the first increase in the table this year, and the inflation compensation premium will also come in full in 2023”, the railway company described the deal when offered.

This being said, it is not surprising that the company is frustrated by the rejection of EVG. At the same time, without the main negotiation parties on the table, a deal is unlikely to be struck. “DB AG has consistently rejected our offer to resume negotiations, at least in working groups, in order to at least make progress on substantive issues and is refusing any talks. That is completely incomprehensible and not very helpful,” said EVG negotiator Kristian Loroch.

“If – as is the case now – there is no further movement at the negotiating table, our only option is to exert pressure with warning strikes. We will now prepare them and inform the employer and the public in good time.”

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Author: Majorie van Leijen

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

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