German drivers′ union votes for train strikes over pay dispute | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 07.03.2011
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German drivers' union votes for train strikes over pay dispute

German train drivers have voted to walk off the job. The strikes will emphasize freight, according to the drivers union, though passenger trains will also be affected.

A train is shown in the background behind a sign showing a man holding his arms out

The German train drivers union has voted to strike over pay

Aiming to exert pressure on pay negotiations, train drivers in Germany have opted to walk off the job.

A statement from the Union of Locomotive Drivers, or GDL, on Monday, did not set a date or duration for the strike. But it did say that Tuesday would be strike-free. Each stoppage will be announced only 12 hours before going into effect, GDL's statement said.

"This week we will introduce the next step of labor conflict," the head of GDL, Claus Weselsky, told a news conference. "The management must come up with a reasonable offer on which to negotiate."

Better pay

The goal of the strike is to improve pay and conditions and is expected to affect commuter and tourist traffic as well as freight throughout the country.

"If employers want conflict, we will not disappoint them," Weselsky said in the statement.

GDL preceded the vote with three short "warning" strikes that snarled passenger networks over the past two weeks.

GDL represents 75 percent of Germany's 26,000 train drivers and the union said that 92 percent of its Deutsche Bahn-employed members voted for the strike, while 96 percent of employees from the smaller firms also voted to strike.

Author: Stuart Tiffen (dpa, Reuters, AP)
Editor: Jennifer Abramsohn

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