Despite an enhanced wage proposal, train operators in Germany have declared another round of strike action set to be the lengthiest in recent months, spanning six days starting from Wednesday.
Deutsche Bahn, the rail operator, anticipates “significant disruptions” during this strike, emphasizing that the planned emergency service will only provide a very limited train service.
To lure train drivers back to the negotiating table, Deutsche Bahn made further improvements to its wage offer last Friday. The revised offer includes two pay increases of 4.8 percent and 5 percent for this year and the next, respectively. Additionally, it proposes a reduction of one hour in the workweek beginning in 2026.
Despite these concessions, the German Locomotive Drivers’ Union (GDL) remains steadfast in its refusal to engage in negotiations, denouncing the presented deal as “another deceptive offer.” Their demands center around a monthly increase of 555 euros (equivalent to 605 U.S. dollars) and a more rapid and substantial reduction in working hours by three hours, bringing it down to just 35 hours.
Germany’s Minister of Transport, Volker Wissing, expressed strong criticism in response to the strike announcement, stating, “I have zero understanding for this form of wage dispute.” He conveyed his concerns that the wage dispute was taking on destructive characteristics.
Compounding the transportation challenges, ongoing construction work is also impacting rail traffic in Germany. The country has embarked on an extensive overhaul of its aging rail network, resulting in the complete closure of crucial long-distance routes for several months.