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No strikes as Deutsche Bahn, train drivers to resume talks

March 16, 2024

Train passengers in Germany saw a glimmer of hope after weeks of travel disruptions. Deutsche Bahn and the GDL train drivers union said they will restart talks, putting at least a temporary stop to strikes.

A German ICE train
Negotiations between Deutsche Bahn and train drivers have been going on for monthsImage: Soeren Stache/dpa/picture alliance

German national rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) on Saturday announced a new round of negotiations with the GDL train drivers union. The company said it was "confident" a deal could be reached.

"Negotiations are intensive but constructive," DB said in a statement. "Agreement has been reached on many issues. Both parties are confident that they will be able to announce a result next week."

The new talks will — at least temporarily — put an end to weeks of on-again-off-again travel disruptions by striking train drivers.

DB added that both sides had agreed to continue the talks behind closed doors next week and not to make additional public statements on the status of negotiations. 

The main sticking point in two months of talks has been a GDL demand to reduce the workweek from 38 hours to 35 without a decrease in pay. DB last presented an offer to cut the workweek to 36 hours in two stages ending in 2028, which the union refused ahead of the most recent of its six strikes over the past several months.

Some smaller private regional rail operators agreed to reduce hours without cutting pay if the GDL enacted the same deal with DB.

A Tuesday strike coincided with a labor action by Lufthansa cabin crew in a separate dispute, adding to disruption for travelers.

sms/lo (dpa, AFP, AP)

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