After the super warning strike in public transport at the end of March, things have remained largely calm for rail passengers – now there are again far-reaching restrictions in long-distance and regional transport. At Deutsche Bahn and other railway companies, further warning strikes are planned throughout Germany this Friday.

Before the next bargaining round with Deutsche Bahn, the railway and transport union announced that it wanted to increase the pressure again. She will announce the details today. Talks with Transdev are already continuing on this day, as both sides have confirmed. According to Transdev, it operates the second largest rail vehicle fleet in Germany.

When do I have to prepare myself for warning strikes again?

Union circles recently said that a nationwide strike should be called for Friday morning and morning. In addition, outstanding payments cannot be ruled out. The EVG had ruled out warning strikes in rail traffic over Easter on the grounds that negotiations would not take place during the public holidays. Conversely, this means: Since people are now speaking again, warning strikes are again an option for the union – even in the short term.

Trains, ships, airplanes – will everything stand still again?

No, there will not be such an extensive warning strike as at the end of March this time – even if the Verdi union has called for warning strikes on Thursday and Friday at the three airports in Düsseldorf, Cologne/Bonn and Hamburg. At that time, EVG, together with Verdi, largely brought public transport in Germany to a standstill with a 24-hour warning strike. Verdi is currently negotiating with the federal and local governments about more money for the approximately 2.5 million public sector employees. Therefore, in addition to rail traffic, almost all German airports were affected, as well as ports and waterways.

Now unions act on their own. The EVG can call on the approximately 230,000 employees for whom it is currently negotiating in the railway sector – but not employees in other transport sectors. Commuters and travelers will still feel the train warning strike. The EVG could bring all regional and long-distance traffic to a standstill.

Where are the negotiations at the railways?

In negotiations with the industry, the EVG demands at least 650 euros more per month or twelve percent for upper income earners and a term of twelve months. The union is currently negotiating in the second round with around 50 railway companies. Some of them have already improved their offers. Nevertheless, the offers are still far removed from the ideas of the union – both in terms of amount and term, it was said recently. The focus of the negotiations is Deutsche Bahn. Around 180,000 of the employees negotiated for across the industry work for the federally owned group.

What are the sticking points on the train?

In addition to the collective bargaining demands, the minimum wage was a sticking point in the first two rounds of talks at Deutsche Bahn. A few thousand employees only achieve this at the company through bonuses. Even before the substantive tariff talks, the EVG wants to set the statutory minimum wage of twelve euros per hour in the tariff tables. Deutsche Bahn, in turn, proposed a minimum wage of 13 euros at the last meeting in mid-March, but does not want to include this in the tables until August 2024. The union strictly rejects this.

To what extent does the arbitration decision in the public sector influence the negotiations at the railways?

In the public service wage dispute, independent arbitrators proposed a solution last weekend, which Deutsche Bahn took a close look at: The proposal initially provides for tax and royalty-free inflation compensation in several stages totaling 3,000 euros. From March 2024 there will then be a base amount of 200 euros and then a wage increase of 5.5 percent. If no increase of 340 euros is achieved, the relevant increase amount should be set to this sum. This proposal will be negotiated in the public sector next weekend.

Deutsche Bahn has made it clear that it also considers a compromise of this magnitude to be conceivable for the railway industry. The company announced on Sunday that a conclusion could be reached quickly in the next round of negotiations on April 25 in Fulda.

The EVG, in turn, immediately rejected such a tariff solution for its own industry. “We have already explained to DB AG several times that we are not negotiating for the public service, but primarily for the employees of bus and train. In this respect, the arbitration recommendation now available is completely irrelevant to us and no basis for our negotiations,” said it from negotiator Kristian Loroch. There are no signs of an approximation before the upcoming wage round next week.