The train drivers’ union GDL has announced new and longer rail strikes after the Christmas holidays. “From January 8th, you should expect longer labor disputes,” said GDL boss Claus Weselsky to the “Augsburger Allgemeine” on Wednesday. Rail passengers would not have to prepare for an indefinite strike for the time being, but they would have to prepare for a longer standstill than before.

“We will strike the railways in moderation,” said Weselsky. “We don’t have to go on strike indefinitely to bring the ‘railway’ system to a standstill.” The union is also “so responsible that we won’t be on strike forever.”

Weselsky accused DB Human Resources Director Martin Seiler of not wanting to negotiate the GDL’s core demand – the reduction of weekly working hours from 38 to 35 hours for employees in shift work. “We will break the blockade on the railway,” said the GDL boss to the “Augsburger Allgemeine”. “If Mr. Seiler doesn’t negotiate with us, the question of power arises.” Weselsky told the “Augsburger Allgemeine”: “As far as implementation is concerned, we are willing to compromise. You could start around 2025 and gradually reduce the weekly working hours from 38 to 35 hours by 2028.” Weselsky called the human resources director of Deutsche Bahn an “actor.” “It’s difficult to negotiate with an actor like that.”

The train drivers last held a nationwide warning strike last Friday. A strike vote by union members is currently underway to strike more frequently and for longer periods starting in January. The result is scheduled to be announced on December 19th. “I expect a high level of support for a labor dispute, significantly more than the necessary 75 percent,” said GDL boss Weselsky to the “Augsburger Allgemeine”. “So far we have only called for 24-hour warning strikes twice.”

In the gallery: Strikes are still possible in the collective bargaining dispute between the German Train Drivers’ Union (GDL) and Deutsche Bahn – the union has experience with work stoppages. A review.