Possibly indefinite German rail strike to be decided in the ballots

Image: Shutterstock. Radowitz

After six months of unsuccessful negotiations between EVG and Deutsche Bahn, the possibility of a massive summer railway strike will be decided in the ballots. The federal executive board of the transport association walked out of the final round of the collective bargaining negotiations, deeming it a “failure”. The board decided that EVG’s members should now cast a vote to determine whether industrial action is the next step.

“We will start preparing for the ballot, with all the associated consequences. This makes indefinite strikes possible”, stressed Martin Burkert, EVG’s chairman. The association said that its initial demands addressed to Deutsche Bahn are unlikely to be met, despite DB claiming it was willing to push itself to the limit to achieve a resolution. Consequently, the ballots and the possible strike will be used as a lever so that EVG can come “as close as possible to meeting its claim in full”.

Negotiations fail but not out of the picture

EVG has not disclosed when the voting will take place. However, it should take little time since if a strike occurs, it will do so during the summer. The two negotiating parties had reached some initial agreements in the last couple of months, and EVG withdrew from a strike in May to continue negotiations in good faith. Despite them looking like getting gradually closer to each other and a final resolution, the latest developments prove otherwise.

“There were irreconcilable differences on the matter of wage increases and the application timeframe of the collective bargaining agreement”, said EVG, which characterised the negotiations as a failure. DB noted that the situation is “unbelievable” and that all partial agreements reached until now will be cancelled. “EVG threw away an almost finished agreement and reset everything to zero”, commented the state-owned company.

Additionally, DB said that EVG seems unwilling to compromise, while the association stressed that DB needs to work harder to fulfil its demands which “are not impossible”. Finally, EVG underlined that negotiations are still possible.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

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

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