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Deutsche Bahn, train drivers union reach pay deal

September 16, 2021

Germany's rail operator and a train drivers union have agreed on a new pay deal. The dispute had earlier seen three rounds of strikes.

A train in a full station
Deutsche Bahn and the GDL union reached a deal following three sets of drivers' strikesImage: Christoph Soeder/dpa/picture alliance

After several rail strikes that crippled Germany's nationwide train system, a deal between German railway operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) and the GDL train drivers' union was announced on Thursday.

The deal, announced by the premiers of the German states of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, is set to resolve railway disruptions across the country after months of deadlock between DB and GDL.

Pay raise for train drivers

The two parties agreed on a gradual 3.3% wage increase for drivers for a duration of 32 months and two bonus payments of €800 to €1,000 ($940-1,180) for each member.

Starting from December 1, a hike of 1.5% will go into effect. Another 1.8% salary increase will take effect on March 1, 2023.

GDL chief Claus Weselsky said the agreement was "a good compromise'' for both sides.

The state-owned rail operator's existing pension plan for drivers will remain unchanged, Weselsky added.

DB Human Resources Director Martin Seiler said the parties involved had negotiated "hard and intensively, confidentially, away from the public" to secure the deal and keep services running.

While German social media users lauded the move and expressed relief, not everyone was pleased with the agreement.

A man sits at a train station in Germany
Train strikes have forced millions of frustrated passengers to change their travel plansImage: Peter Kneffel/dpa/picture-alliance

A call to renegotiate

Following the announcement, officials from a larger rail union, EVG, said they were displeased with the deal and would be pushing for more negotiations.

"We are preparing for negotiations, but also for measures including industrial action," Spiegel quoted EVG chairman Klaus-Dieter Hommel as saying.

Hommel criticized involving the two state premiers in the negotiations and the announcement and went on to accuse the pair of political interference in the labor dispute.

go/sms (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)