[Marxism] German train drivers strike update

Johannes Schneider Johannes.Schneider at gmx.net
Thu Oct 25 01:25:05 MDT 2007


This night another 30 hours rail drivers strike started. It looks as if the strike is successful: Deutsche Bahn cannot even run its emergency schedule. The general public is still in support of the strike. I am just coming back from distributing leaflets at the Munich train station and most reactions by passengers were positive and in support for the strike.

Bloomberg report:

German Travelers Face Tough Commute Amid Rail Strike (Update1)

By Chad Thomas

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- German travelers face a difficult commute over the next two days as train engineers stage their fourth strike this month in a pay and working-conditions dispute.

The train drivers walked off the job at 2 a.m. Frankfurt time and won't return to work until 8 a.m. tomorrow, the GDL train-drivers union said in a statement. The strike is hampering regional and local railway traffic in cities including Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin.

The GDL rejected Deutsche Bahn AG's most recent contract offer on Oct. 15, calling the proposed one-time payment of 2,000 euros ($2,850) and 10 percent raise ``insufficient.'' The state- owned railway, which operates Europe's largest track network, has refused to meet the Frankfurt-based union's demands for a wage increase of as much as 31 percent.

Train drivers have staged temporary walkouts over the past three months amid the contract dispute. Berlin-based Deutsche Bahn wants the railway's 12,000 train drivers to work two additional hours a week.

East Germany was again hardest hit by the strike, with the commuter S-Bahn train system breaking down in Leipzig and Dresden. In other cities, Deutsche Bahn organized an emergency schedule, with commuter S-Bahn trains in Frankfurt and Munich running once an hour and S-Bahn trains in Berlin departing every 10 to 20 minutes.

Mitigating Efforts

A ruling by a court in Chemnitz, Germany, on Oct. 5 prevents the engineers from striking on long-distance and freight routes. The GDL and Deutsche Bahn have both appealed the labor court decision. The union wants the freedom to stage strikes affecting any service, while the railway seeks to block all walkouts. The appeals court will hold a hearing in the case Nov. 2.

The railway said it would have an additional 1,000 employees from other parts of the company working during the strike to help operate about 50 percent of regional service and run local trains at intervals of 10 to 20 minutes.

The GDL is seeking a contract separate from one reached in July with two other railway unions, Transnet and the GDBA, while Deutsche Bahn says any agreement must be ``within the framework'' of that accord.

Transnet and the GDBA, which together have 134,000 members, agreed to raises of 4.5 percent. Talks between the two unions and the GDL on developing a common strategy collapsed in September. 

Source:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601100&sid=ahKh6EPD0rDk

WSWS about the strike:
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/oct2007/germ-o24.shtml 
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