Collective dispute in railway transport: Wezelsky rules out strikes at Christmas

DThe head of the train drivers’ union (ON) Klaus Weselski has ruled out strikes at Deutsche Bahn over the Christmas period. “The Grand Duchy of Lithuania has never gone on strike at Christmas and will not do so this year,” Weselsky told the Leipziger Volkszeitung newspaper. “The Christmas season is peaceful and will remain so.”

Last week, from Wednesday evening to Thursday evening, most intercity, regional and freight traffic was stopped due to a warning strike. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania has now called on its members to vote for indefinite strikes as part of the current collective dispute.

Despite this, Deutsche Bahn wants to continue negotiations. The agreed date for talks in the new week will of course go ahead, a spokesman said over the weekend. “Unless the Grand Duchy of Lithuania itself declares a strike on the day of negotiations.” The railroad wants to find a solution at the negotiating table in the interests of employees and passengers. Negotiations are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

The essence of the issue is working hours

The Grand Duchy of Lithuania announced on Friday that it would begin voting. If three-quarters of the members agree, indefinite strikes are also possible at the state-owned company and private railways. GDL head Klaus Weselski justified this approach as a delaying tactic for employers.

The railway company criticized the statement as “bizarre and completely irrational”. Negotiations did not even fail, the spokesman said. “The Machinists Union is only looking for conflict; he is unable to cooperate.” In the first round of negotiations, the railroad presented a proposal for an eleven percent wage increase. The ON will now begin voting without further negotiations, although this has already been agreed. “Who else should understand this?”

ON talks about “solid pillars” and “rivets”.

Positions vary: the union demands, among other things, an additional 555 euros per month and a bonus to compensate for inflation. The essence of the negotiations, however, is the demand for a reduction in working hours from 38 to 35 hours a week for shift workers with full pay. From Wezelsky’s point of view, this is the only way to increase the attractiveness of these professions. The union chief said over the weekend that working hours would also be cut “moderately and gradually” if a deal was reached.

The railroad rejects this demand as impossible. Your offer of an 11 percent salary increase is valid for 32 months. It also offers an inflation premium.

In the ongoing tariff dispute, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania paralyzed rail traffic for the first time, declaring a warning strike from Wednesday to Thursday evening. For warning strikes, a strike vote is not required. There are more stringent requirements for duration and frequency. Wezelsky has repeatedly emphasized that he wants to hold a strike vote as early as possible. In his own words, he first of all wants to prevent the railway from ending up in the labor court. It is still unclear when the voting results will be known. ON does not rule out the possibility of further warning strikes until then.

Veselsky once again sharply criticized employers. With many employees reaching retirement age, he told a civil servants’ association rally in Erfurt on Saturday that employers were surprised. There are hundreds of departures from Deutsche Bahn every month. “They knew by their date of birth when their colleagues would retire. And now they act like it surprises us. “They are complete ruins.”

The union leader also complained about the unpunctuality of the train, for which the workers are not responsible. “Riveters in pinstripes, with salaries in the millions, sit on a railway tower, make fools of themselves and have no idea how to organize a railway,” criticized Wezelsky.

Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine

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