German train strike to hit as school holidays start

Drivers seek pay rise, shortened work week
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 10/17/2014

BERLIN (Reuters) — German train drivers will stage a nationwide strike for the second time this week in a drawn-out dispute over pay and conditions with state-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn, union GDL said on Friday.

The strike by the drivers' union is due to start at 3 p.m. on Friday for freight traffic and at 2 a.m. on Saturday for passenger trains. The walkout, which comes as school holidays start in many of Germany's federal states, is due to end on Monday at 4 a.m.

GDL is seeking a 5 per cent pay rise for drivers and a shortening of their working week to 37 hours from 39 hours. The union also wants a mandate to negotiate for train guards and other personnel, something Deutsche Bahn has rejected.

The company wants to halt talks until the government passes a law which would mean a settlement with the biggest union in a firm would apply to all workers in that firm. GDL, which is not the biggest union within Deutsche Bahn, opposes such reforms.

On Wednesday and Thursday train drivers already staged a 14-hour strike for passenger trains, causing major traffic disruptions as people were forced to use buses, cars and planes.

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