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An EVG flag is waved at a demonstration in front of Berlin's main train station

Photo: Annette Riedl / dpa

In the wage dispute at Deutsche Bahn, there is still no agreement in sight. The recently improved offer of the state-owned company was rejected by the railway and transport union (EVG) late on Tuesday evening as "inadequate". At the same time, she called on employers to hold further negotiations in Berlin this Wednesday. "Essential points of our demands are still not met," said negotiator Kristian Loroch. "What is currently on the table is socially unjust." In the evening, the railway did not initially comment on the union's reaction.

Whether there will be further warning strikes depends on the next few days. The EVG has called on the railway to "adjust its offer accordingly and to continue negotiating with us immediately," Loroch continued. We have invited our Central Collective Bargaining Commission to Berlin and will be able to continue negotiations as early as Wednesday." This is in the interest of the company, "because as long as we sit at the negotiating table, there will be no strikes".

Deutsche Bahn had submitted the current offer at the latest round of negotiations last week in Fulda and called on the EVG to comment on it up to and including this Tuesday. The Group has gradually promised twelve percent for the lower wage groups.

A total of ten percent more is to be given to the middle groups and eight percent to the upper ones. The first stage of increase is to be implemented this year. In addition, there is also a gradual inflation compensation premium totaling 2850 euros, which could be paid tax-free and duty-free from this July. The term is 24 months.

Persistent differences despite concessions

Compared to the previous offers, Deutsche Bahn has thus made further concessions to EVG. However, the two sides are still far apart: the union is demanding a fixed amount of at least 650 euros per month more or twelve percent for the upper wage groups. According to their ideas, the term should be only twelve months. So far, the EDC has strictly rejected one-off payments.

Further warning strikes or even a ballot, which could result in indefinite strikes, are therefore not off the table. The EVG has already called for warning strikes twice in the ongoing wage dispute, bringing rail traffic in Germany to a standstill. On the other hand, the union cancelled a third planned 50-hour warning strike at short notice after reaching a settlement with the railway before the Frankfurt Labour Court in one of the sticking points of the negotiations.

The union is also likely to keep an eye on developments in the railway's rival union GDL, whose collective bargaining agreements expire this autumn. At the beginning of June, the German Locomotive Drivers' Union (GDL) wants to define its demands for the upcoming negotiations.

Negotiations are underway with other railway undertakings

The much smaller GDL under its boss Claus Weselsky primarily represents the interests of train drivers at the railway. Weselsky is known for his tough stance in collective bargaining disputes and frequent warning strikes. It is quite possible that the EVG wants to wait for the announcement of the competition before concluding its own deal.

The wage dispute between DB and EVG has been ongoing since the end of February. At the beginning, the talks were very slow, but the fourth round of negotiations last week in Fulda was assessed as constructive by both sides. In addition to the railways, EVG is gradually negotiating higher tariffs with dozens of other railway companies for a total of around 230,000 industry employees.

"Some railway and transport companies, with whom we are also currently negotiating, are now a significant step ahead of DB AG and are already offering a minimum amount by which wages should increase per month," Loroch said.