BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – With demands for 4.8 percent more wages, the German Locomotive Drivers Union (GDL) entered the arbitration with Deutsche Bahn on Thursday. “We are of the firm conviction that our colleagues deserve more than clapping balconies and in the end recurring fairy tales from management that everything will get better,” said GDL boss Claus Weselsky on Thursday in Berlin. Both sides met there in the morning to negotiate how to deal with the losses from the Corona crisis. Deutsche Bahn wants to dampen the rise in personnel costs because revenues have slumped massively in recent months.
Weselsky, however, now called for a special collective agreement for the consequences of the crisis. A one-off payment for the employees in the amount of 1,300 euros is to be recorded this year as recognition for their performance during the crisis. In the contract it should also be agreed “that all executives of the Deutsche Bahn AG group waive their bonuses for three years”, said Weselsky. The contract should have a term of 12 months.
The current collective agreement expires in February. Until then, the duty of peace applies – even if the stratification procedure fails. “In the next few weeks we expect constructive negotiations to agree on a solution with the GDL for a contribution to coping with the corona damage,” said Bahn Personnel Director Martin Seiler the evening before. The arbitration process is therefore “not a regular collective bargaining round brought forward, but a special situation caused by Corona,” he made clear.
Several weeks ago, the federally owned group had already reached an agreement with the Railway and Transport Union (EVG) on a new collective agreement with only moderate increases in wages and salaries, which were well below the demands made by the GDL. Compulsory redundancies are excluded until the end of the term at the end of February 2023.
Weselsky rejected general protection against dismissal for all employees. He criticized the administration, which he considered excessive, and which urgently needed to be streamlined. However, the administrative employees of Deutsche Bahn are not organized in the GDL, but in the EVG.
The negotiations are initially set for three weeks, but can be extended by one week in accordance with the arbitration agreement. In view of the considerable economic damage, a prompt agreement with the GDL is required, said Seiler. Both sides agreed on the role of mediator on the former Brandenburg Prime Minister Matthias Platzeck (SPD). It was agreed not to disclose for the duration of the talks.
At the time, the GDL rejected collective bargaining within the framework of the “Alliance for the Railway” concluded by EVG and Bahn. However, it is obliged to arbitrate. Weselsky expressed skepticism on Thursday about a possible agreement. “We have an arbitration ahead of us that we did not want,” he said. But there is “justified hope that we will come to an arbitration result”. The GDL represents the train staff with around 30,000 employees at Deutsche Bahn. / Maa / DP / jha