After months of negotiations between Deutsche Bahn and the train driver's union GDL didn't bring a conclusion, the GDL decided to strike again. And the nearly sole operator of the extensive German railway system Deutsche Bahn issued another lawsuit to avert the strike in response. The GDL announced a nationwide rail strike for tomorrows Friday, and the labor court in the city of Chemnitz will begin the trial this afternoon. It depends on the outcome of this trial if the GDL can proceed with their plans.
Even though the Bahn is sure that the lawsuit will be successful, preparations for the labor war were done, and the company promised to reduce annoyances and cancellations as much as possible, relying on over 1000 train drivers from Switzerland and Austria, and having extra staff in place to provide guidance and information to passengers. The company wants to keep the important national Inter City Express network running, as well as the crucial industrial supply trains. But it is expected that at least half of the regional and metropolitan trains will drop out.
Politicians are again and again urging the parties to finally come to an agreement, trying to avoid the severe consequences for the economy. The railway is an integral part of the national and also European transportation network, and many of the large industrial corporations have complex supply chains relying on cargo trains. At example, the giant seaports of the worlds biggest exporter are supplied by cargo trains, elevating the looming rail strike to a crucial national event.
Its problematic to come to an agreement, since the union insists to demand a payrise of up to 31 percent as well as a separat deal, setting working conditions and wage, recognizing the GDL as a separate labor union. Deutsche Bahn refuses both demands as completely unrealistic.