German train drivers to strike again | News | DW | 18.05.2015
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German train drivers to strike again

Just over a week after the country's longest-ever rail strike, Germany's GDL train drivers' union has said it will hold another strike. The GDL and Deutsche Bahn have blamed each other for the failure of wage talks.

Train services across Germany are set to face a fresh round of disruptions after the GDL train drivers' union announced Monday it would organize a new strike.

The union will announce the precise times and dates for the next walkout at a press conference in Berlin on Monday afternoon.

The GDL has so far staged eight walkouts over 10 months of negotiations, with a 3,000-driver-strong strike earlier this month that lasted six days - making it Germany's longest train strike - and only ended on May 10. Economists say the week-long strike may have cost the German national rail carrier, Deutsche Bahn (DB), around 750 million euros ($855.7 million).

The GDL union is demanding a 5-percent pay hike for drivers, a two-hour cut in drivers' working week and the right to represent other rail staff, such as train stewards.

A record year for strikes

Wage negotiations between the GDL and DB reached an impasse over the weekend after talks set for Sunday failed to materialize.

The union accused DB of not taking the talks seriously, thereby necessitating the strike.

Deutsche Bahn, however, has accused GDL, the smaller of Germany's two main train drivers' unions, several times of walking away from deals that were almost done.

Nationwide and across industries, Germany seems to be on track for a record year in strikes as discontent with labor practices grows. In April, the union Cockpit, which represents Lufthansa pilots, brought flights to a halt for Germany's flagship air carrier. Earlier in May, staff at youth, children's and day care centers also announced an unlimited strike until a 10-percent raise was put forth.

sri/hg (dpa, AFP)

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