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Waiting ICE in Münster: What's next for the EVG and the railway?

Photo: Rüdiger Wölk / IMAGO

The wage dispute between the railway and transport union (EVG) and Deutsche Bahn threatens to escalate again. "In the short term, there will certainly be another warning strike," EVG co-negotiator Cosima Ingenschay said on Wednesday. This is now being prepared, and the announcement will follow in the coming days.

Deutsche Bahn had previously declared further negotiations "pointless" after the union rejected the company's latest offer. DB Chief Human Resources Officer Martin Seiler accused the EVG of a lack of willingness to compromise. "You have to move towards each other," he said. Then negotiations can be held and a solution can be found. However, the union stubbornly insists on its original demands. Further talks are therefore "pointless".

On Tuesday evening, the EVG had rejected the latest offer from the railway as "inadequate". She now expects an offer "on the basis of our demands," it said in a letter from the negotiators to the railway. However, Seiler ruled out submitting another offer.

Under these conditions, a strike is "inevitable," Ingenschay said. Of course, a strike could still be averted, should the railway return to the negotiating table. But it doesn't look like that at the moment.

Regarding a possible strike date, co-negotiator Kristian Loroch said that it could not happen until Monday at the earliest. Because Saturday marks the 25th anniversary of the train accident in Eschede and arrival and departure for the funeral services should not be disturbed.

"Getting significantly more out of it, especially for the lower wage groups"

In terms of content, Loroch explained the latest offer of the railway that this "still does not meet essential points of our demands". The railway had offered wage increases of twelve percent for lower incomes, ten percent for middle incomes and eight percent for higher incomes, as well as a tax-free inflation compensation of a total of 2850 euros.

The EVG demands twelve percent more for everyone, but above all at least 650 euros more. The envisaged purely percentage staggering disadvantages "especially the lower wage groups, for whom we want to get significantly more out of it this time," Loroch explained. The offered term of 24 months is also still too long. The EDC calls for twelve months.

The union shows no concession and does not make any proposals for solutions, but "simply stubbornly insists on its initial demands," criticized Seiler. It puts "everyone in a difficult situation", because the employees would not initially receive a wage increase and the travellers would have to "deal with a completely unresolved situation". The railway now wants to comprehensively assess the overall situation and discuss further steps in the responsible committees, he announced.

The EDC had already called for a warning strike in March and April. A 50-hour strike in May, which had already been scheduled, was averted at short notice with a court settlement between the negotiating partners. First of all, there should be another warning strike, but a ballot on the question of an indefinite strike is also an option as a "further escalation", Loroch said.