Deutsche bahn and locomotive drivers agree on collective bargaining agreement

German rail passengers no longer have to fear strikes until further notice. As previously with the rail and transport union (EVG), the state-owned company has now also concluded a long-term collective agreement with the GDL locomotive drivers until the end of february 2021.

According to the agreement presented by both sides in frankfurt/main on friday, wages for the approximately 36,000 train crews are to rise in two stages by a total of 6.1 percent: the first stage of 3.5 percent will take effect on 1 january 2009. July 2019, another 2.6 percent is due a year later. Instead of this second pay rise, employees can also opt for additional vacation days or shorter weekly working hours, which will then apply from january 1, 2021. January 2021 were valid. One-time payment of 1000 euros to be made as early as february.

The regulations correspond to the agreement reached with the coarser EVG in december. According to its boss claus weselsky, the GDL has negotiated further allowances of 1.5 percent and clear rules on accessibility under the motto "switch off". In the future, employees will no longer have to check their e-mails or be reachable by cell phone outside of work or on-call hours, weselsky explained. "We have achieved a razor-sharp separation of work and leisure," he said. There is an "unchallengeable claim to non-availability". However, as communication had been completely disorganized in the past, he expects a longer settling-in period.

GDL pointed out that it was the first agreement reached by deutsche bahn since 2002 without arbitration or even strikes. This expresses the high esteem for the staff, for whose job images there will be an image campaign. The railroaders met the challenges of digitalization, weselsky said. "For our people, this means nothing other than continued lifelong learning. We have known this for decades, because we still have locomotive drivers who learned on steam locomotives and now drive ICE trains."

Railroad personnel director martin seiler praised the "rough overall package" as a "very appreciative signal" for employees and also for customers. "We will be working hard in the next few weeks to provide even better railroads for germany."

Seiler confirmed statements by the GDL that the newly founded deutsche bahn subsidiary "start deutschland gmbh" was also subject to the same rates as DB regio and thus at market level. Competition for tendered transport services should not be based on particularly low personnel costs. DB is supporting the union in its efforts to reach the most comprehensive branch collective agreement possible.

The railroad had already reached an agreement with its rival EVG in december. The term with both unions is retroactive from october 29 months to the end of february 2021. The railroad passengers are also protected from strikes for such a long time.

Of the 160,000 or so employees on the railroads, around 36,000 are train crews whose interests are represented by both unions. The railroad wants to reach agreements that are free of contradictions in separate negotiations, but which may differ in detail.

In practice, however, the regulations are applied in the same way for all driving personnel. The successes of the EVG negotiations thus also benefit GDL members and vice versa. This does not make the negotiations any easier, seiler explained. In the 2021 upcoming round, however, the german railroads can no longer rely on the fact that the GDL had to call an arbitrator first before a labor dispute. The mutual conciliation agreement based on this will expire at the end of 2020.

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