Deutsche Bahn has criticized the GDL union’s strike vote on longer strikes as “strange and completely irrational”. According to a statement, the negotiations had not even failed, a company spokesman said.

“The train drivers’ union is only looking for conflict; it is not in a position to cooperate.” In the first round of negotiations, the railway submitted an offer for an eleven percent wage increase. “The GDL is canceling the second negotiation date and is now initiating the ballot without further negotiations, even though it has already been agreed upon. Who is supposed to understand that?”

Shortly after the first warning strike in the current wage dispute, the GDL called on its members to vote on indefinite strikes at the railways and other transport companies. With a view to the negotiations, GDL boss Claus Weselsky accused the employers of stalling tactics.

According to the GDL, 75 percent of members must be in favor of longer and more frequent industrial action. It is unclear when the result will be available. The GDL is not ruling out further warning strikes until then.

From Wednesday to Thursday evening, large parts of long-distance, regional and freight transport were already at a standstill. Weselsky had repeatedly emphasized that he wanted to go for a strike vote early in the debate. According to his own statements, he primarily wants to avoid the railway going to the labor court. No strike vote is necessary for warning strikes. There are stricter requirements regarding duration and frequency.

The next round of negotiations is scheduled for Thursday and Friday next week. The railway had already announced that it wanted to keep the deadline as long as the GDL did not call for industrial action again on the respective days.

The union is demanding, among other things, 555 euros more per month and an inflation compensation bonus. The crux of the negotiations is the demand for a reduction in working hours from 38 to 35 hours per week for shift workers with full pay. From Weselsky’s point of view, this is the only way to improve the attractiveness of these professions.

The railway rejects this demand as unfulfillable. Your offer of an 11 percent pay increase is valid for a term of 32 months. It also offers an inflation premium.