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Germany’s train drivers to strike for third time this summer.

Germany’s train drivers’ union, the GDL, has announced a five day strike starting later this week, the third and longest for rail customers so far this summer.
It will target Deutsche Bahn passenger services from 2 am on Thursday until Tuesday, September 7.
In freight transport, the strike is to begin as early as Wednesday.
“It is one of the longest industrial actions we’ve taken and we are doing it intentionally,” union leader Claus Weselsky said in Frankfurt on Monday. “We don’t see ourselves ready or willing to take shorter industrial action here, given the obstructionist attitude of Deutsche Bahn managers.”
However, Weselsky stressed that indefinite strikes were not currently under discussion.
The GDL is campaigning for higher pay and better working conditions for employees. Critics say that in doing so, the GDL also wants to score points against the larger of Germany’s two railway unions, the Railway and Transport Union (EVG).
The industrial action will not only affect hundreds of thousands of commuters, but also many vacation travellers. Schools are still on holiday in several German states.
The latest strike ended on Wednesday night last week. The railways reacted with emergency timetables which, for long distance routes, enabled around 30 per cent of services to be operated. For regional traffic, including suburban trains, the average was 40 per cent.
Since then there has been no sign of reconciliation between the union and the Deutsche Bahn management. In recent interviews railway boss Richard Lutz had called on the union to return to the negotiating table. At the same time, he accused GDL chairman Weselsky of dividing the workforce with false allegations.
The company wants to increase wages and salaries by 3.2 per cent, as demanded by the GDL. However, there’s no agreement about when the individual steps should take effect and how long the new collective agreement should be valid.
The company has also offered drivers a Covid-19 bonus for this year, but without quantifying it. The GDL is demanding 600 euros (707 dollars). The two sides have also not yet moved towards each other on the issue of company pensions.
The union wants to expand its influence within Germany’s railways.
Before this round of collective bargaining, it had last gone on strike in 2014 and 2015, when it succeeded in negotiating a framework agreement for train conductors as well. Now it also wants to negotiate collective agreements for vehicle maintenance workers, network operation and track maintenance, as well as framework conditions for trainees.
However, these groups are usually represented by the EVG union, so the company rejects all these demands. Under Germany’s collective bargaining laws, the contract of the union that has the most members in the respective company applies.