The board presents GDL with a new offer in the wage dispute

Tariff dispute at the railway

The GDL had threatened to strike again after the weekend.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin In the wage dispute with the train drivers’ union GDL, Deutsche Bahn has, according to its own information, improved its offer in order to reach an agreement quickly. It now contains an additional “remuneration component”, announced the state company on Saturday. “With the new offer, the company is taking another big step towards GDL.”

Personnel director Martin Seiler called on the GDL to negotiate again. “There are viable solutions on the table.” The union had announced that it would start preparing for the next strike on Monday if the railway had not submitted a “negotiable offer” by then.

How high the so-called fee component should be and how it should be paid, the railway did not announce. The union is demanding 3.2 percent more wages with a term of the collective agreement of 28 months and a corona bonus of 600 euros. The railway wants to extend the tariff increase over a longer period of time and offers a term of 36 months. It also offers a corona premium of 600 or 400 euros, depending on the wage group.

The remuneration component should also be paid. In addition, according to its own account, the railway is accommodating the GDL in the dispute over old-age provision. She therefore agreed to receive unrestricted entitlements from the previous pension system by the end of 2020.

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A sticking point in the negotiations is the question of who the new contract should apply to. The GDL not only wants to represent engine drivers and train attendants, but also to conclude framework collective agreements for employees in the workshops and in the infrastructure as well as for trainees. The railway now said: “The group also declares that it is ready to review the scope of the GDL tariff regulations in today’s GDL majority companies.”

Answer from the GDL is still pending

It is unclear whether that is enough for the GDL to return to the negotiating table. The union could not be reached on Saturday morning. GDL boss Claus Weselsky had argued that his union had thousands of new members in other rail professions such as administration. They have a right to a collective agreement, which the railway denies them.

The background to the dispute is the law on collective bargaining. This stipulates that in a company with several unions only the collective agreement of the employee representatives with a larger number of members is applied. From the Group’s point of view, this is the competing rail and transport union EVG in the majority of the 300 or so rail companies. The GDL doubts that.

The GDL has struck three times in the current collective bargaining round, most recently in passenger transport for five days. Many commuters and travelers were affected by train cancellations and delays. The railway put an emergency schedule into effect. Freight traffic was also affected by the defaults. More than every second German (53 percent) had no understanding for the third strike, as a Yougov survey for the German press agency revealed this week. In contrast, 36 percent understood the action.

More: GDL threatens a new strike