May 23, 2024

Germany’s state-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn has applied for an injunction at Frankfurt’s labour court in a bid to stop a renewed strike by train drivers’ union GDL, the company said on Monday.

“Deutsche Bahn (DB) has criticized the GDL’s actions in the strongest possible terms and has now filed a legal appeal to stop the strike,” the company said.

“DB filed an urgent application for a temporary injunction with the Frankfurt am Main Labour Court this morning,” it added.

On Sunday, the GDL called for a strike affecting long-distance, regional and freight transport for 24 hours.

In passenger transport, the strike is to begin on Tuesday at 2 am (0100 GMT) and last for 24 hours. The strike in freight transport is set to begin on Monday at 6 pm.

Deutsche Bahn criticized the “far too short lead time of only 22 hours,” saying this is a “sheer imposition” for passengers.

It is the sixth strike in a months-long wage dispute between the state-owned rail operator and the GDL union and comes just days after the last industrial action.

The sticking point between the two continues to be the GDL’s core demand for a reduction in weekly working hours for shift workers from 38 to 35, with full wage compensation.

In the current dispute, Deutsche Bahn has tried to legally prevent industrial action by the GDL, but without success.

Union leader Claus Weselsky had already announced before the previous strike that the railway and passengers would be given significantly less time to prepare for industrial action in future.

The operator called on the union to resume negotiations on Friday. The GDL had expressed its willingness to meet again on Monday, provided that the railway submitted a new offer by its Sunday evening deadline at 6 pm.

However, Deutsche Bahn did not respond to this demand “inevitably forcing the GDL to continue the dispute, to the chagrin of DB customers,” the union said.

Deutsche Bahn had merely renewed its offer to the union to resume collective bargaining on Monday, saying offers and solutions could be submitted and discussed directly at the negotiating table, the company said on Sunday afternoon.

So far, mediators have proposed a reduction in weekly working hours – a sticking point in the deadlocked negotiations – in two stages from 38 to 36 hours with full pay compensation by 2028, but the union has not accepted the proposal.

The latest walkout comes after the union staged a 35-hour strike in passenger transport on Thursday and Friday, while a strike in freight transport began on Wednesday and ended on Friday.

The Deutsche Bahn logo hangs at the main station in Duisburg. Oliver Berg/dpaThe Deutsche Bahn logo hangs at the main station in Duisburg. Oliver Berg/dpa

The Deutsche Bahn logo hangs at the main station in Duisburg. Oliver Berg/dpa

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