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Germany

Agreement Ends Potentially Crippling Strike by Deutsche Bahn

Agreement was reached late Saturday in negotiations over pay and other issues for 142,000 employees of Deutsche Bahn, according Norbert Hansen, a top personnel official at German rail.

Rails and an ICE high speed train are seen near the main train station as the sun sets in Frankfurt, central Germany

Normal service resumed: Deutsche Bahn's proposed strike has been averted

The agreement followed a near 40-hour marathon negotiation session in Frankfurt and headed off threats of a looming strike.

The compromise calls for pay increases of 2.5 per cent as of Sunday and a second increase of 2 per cent on January 1, 2010. In addition, a one-time payment of 500 euros ($640) in December was made as part of the 18-month contract.

Panels on both the union side as well as German rail must approve the deal, but that was seen as a formality.

Unions had been demanding 6.5 to 10 percent pay increases. Deutsche Bahn had offered 1 percent.

German rail union Transnet head Alexander Kirchner said the employer had made concessions, including better working conditions, and he called the agreement a good sign for the economy.

Unions and German rail entered the fourth round of talks on Friday, when work schedules were a central issue.

On Thursday, warning strikes delayed train travel mainly in the states of Bavaria and North Rhine Westphalia.

Long-distance trains from the Bavarian city of Nuremberg to Hamburg and Karlsruhe had to be cancelled, but most services in the other 14 German states were operating normally.

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