There are negotiations in difficult times: The corona pandemic has left Deutsche Bahn empty trains and billions in losses. Nevertheless, the train drivers' union is knocking GDL now on significantly more salaries for the train crew. After months of dispute, both sides are now starting collective bargaining.
Bahn personnel director Martin Seiler and GDL boss Claus Weselsky want to attend a first round of talks on Friday Berlin meet, as both sides announced. The GDL is demanding 4,8 percent more wages and a corona bonus of 1300 euros for almost all rail staff in Germany. In addition, there are demands such as more security guards on the trains as protection for train attendants.
The larger railway and transport union EVG has already concluded a corona restructuring collective agreement with the financially badly troubled railway that runs until 2023. Among other things, it provides for wage increases of 1,5 percent. The railway had rejected the GDL demands. They would increase staff costs by 46 percent.
This year's collective bargaining round is particularly complicated by the fact that both EVG and GDL claim to negotiate with rail staff for almost all employees in Germany. The GDL had canceled an initial negotiation date on the claims and declared that it must first be ensured that all around 185.000 employees would benefit from a deal.
Meanwhile, the railway implemented the collective bargaining unit law: According to this, a collective bargaining agreement only applies where the respective union has a majority. According to the Bahn, the GDL only has a majority in 300 of 16 sub-operations where their conclusion would apply.
Concrete results are not expected in the first round of talks. Since the collective agreement with the GDL expired at the end of February, the GDL has been on legal strike since then.
Note: In an earlier version of this article it was stated that the railway was not ready to negotiate. In fact, it is said at the railway that the union has been asked to do so several times.