Train drivers take their turn to strike

Train drivers take their turn to strike
A banner announcing a previous rail strike in June is displayed in a station. Photo: DPA
A train drivers' union has warned of a nationwide strike to take place on Monday evening as it seeks leverage in negotiations with Deutsche Bahn.

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The German Train Drivers' Union (GDL) said that the strike would mostly affect freight trains and that it would avoid services used by commuters and other passengers.

The current collective bargaining round between Deutsche Bahn and its workers' representatives doesn't focus on wages.

Rather, GDL is hoping to gain the right to represent more rail employees in negotiations, bringing it up to a similar level of membership as the competing Rail and Traffic Union (EVG).

A Deutsche Bahn spokesman said that it would have new proposals to solve the strikes ready in the coming days, saying “we are open to further discussion.”

Employers' organisation (BDA) president Ingo Kramer was among voices putting increased pressure on the government to limit small unions' ability to strike, calling for a new law this year in an interview with Die Welt.

GDL's industrial action comes just days after a strike by pilots' union Cockpit over pensions at Lufthansa subsidiary Germanwings on Friday, which disrupted thousands of passengers' plans.

GDL had previously said that it wanted to avoid the two strikes coinciding and causing compound blockages in the transport system.

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