German train drivers to go on longer strike after holiday season

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s GDL train drivers’ union said it planned a strike that would last several days after the Christmas holiday as a wage dispute with rail operator Deutsche Bahn continues.

“From Jan. 8th, you should expect longer labour disputes,” GDL head Claus Weselsky was quoted as saying by Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper on Wednesday.

The union held a 24-hour strike last week, its last strike of the year, after negotiations with Deutsche Bahn broke off at the end of November.

The GDL is demanding a reduction in working hours from 38 to 35 hours per week for shift workers, as well as an increase of 555 euros per month and a one-off inflation compensation bonus of 3,000 euros.

Deutsche Bahn rejects the demanded reduction in working hours due to a labour shortage and has offered an 11% increase in wages and salaries for a collective agreement term of 32 months. The GDL rejected the offer.

Weselsky said the union would strike in moderation and was not planning an indefinite strike.

“We don’t have to go on strike indefinitely to bring the rail system to a standstill,” he added.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; editing by David Evans)