Germany averts 50-hour train strike

Europe

Germany has averted a crippling 50-hour train strike as transport union EVG on Saturday called off the industrial action after reaching a wage deal with rail operator Deutsche Bahn.

Delays and disruptions are however still expected in the next days across the rail network, Deutsche Bahn said, as it needed to work through the mass changes that had arisen because of the planned strike.

The walkout had been due to begin at 10:00 pm on Sunday, and end on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday at midnight.

But an accord was finally struck at a Frankfurt court, to which Deutsche Bahn had turned to with an emergency appeal.

EVG said the rail operator “told the court unequivocally that it would fulfil our minimum wage requests”.

“On the advice of the court, the employer and us reached a settlement,” added the EVG spokesman.

EVG represents 230,000 workers across some 50 transport companies, including Deutsche Bahn.

The union is demanding a 12-percent pay rise over one year for the workers it represents, with a minimum increase of 650 euros ($712) a month.

Deutsche Bahn said it had offered a 10-percent raise as well as an inflation compensation bonus. But negotiations had hit a snag over the lowest paid workers.

Over the last few months, workers in different sectors including healthcare, childcare and transport have gone on strike to demand better conditions.

The industrial unrest comes as consumers struggle with steep increases in prices, as the cost of energy and food have soared.

Inflation has cooled slightly in Germany in recent months but remained very elevated in April at 7.2 percent.

The rail system was largely brought to a halt in a major walkout at the end of March led by EVG and fellow union Verdi.

Another shorter strike followed in mid-April, with similar disruption to rail traffic.__Daily Hurriyet