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News > Germany

Germany Faces Rail Strike After Wage Negotiations Fail

  • German rail operator Deutsche Bahn registered a yearly profit of 716 million euros in 2016.

    German rail operator Deutsche Bahn registered a yearly profit of 716 million euros in 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 December 2018

Unions want a 7.5 percent wage increase but Germany's railway company has offered a 5.1 percent increase.

Germany’s EVG railway workers’ union plans to stage warning strikes over the Christmas period after wage talks with rail operator Deutsche Bahn broke down Saturday.


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Germans can expect heavy delays starting Monday, when the strike is set to begin. “Warning strikes will now be the unavoidable consequence,” said EVG leader Torsten Westphal in a statement. The union represents around 200,000 railway-related workers and professionals, covering most workers in the field.

Deutsche Bahn is also holding talks with the smaller Union of German Locomotive Drivers (GDL). DLG representatives have warned that its 36,000 members could take action if wage negotiations fail.

Both unions want a 7.5 percent wage increase and also have demands on working hours and holidays.

Deutsche Bahn, which said it had offered a 5.1 percent wage rise in two stages and a one-off payment of 500 euros, said EVG’s decision to break off talks had caused a “completely unnecessary escalation.”

In 2016, DB registered a profit of 716 million euros. 

“To leave the negotiating table with this offer is incomprehensible and unnecessarily unsettles our customers in the middle of the Christmas period,” said Deutsche Bahn human resources head Martin Seiler in a statement.

EVG announced they would only return to negotiations if DB makes it clear it is willing to increase its offer by an extra percentage point in salary hike.

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