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Germany's Deutsche Bahn loses court bid to prevent train driver strike

Germany's Deutsche Bahn loses court bid to prevent train driver strike
A Frankfurt labor court has rejected an injunction application filed by Deutsche Bahn in a bid to prevent train drivers going on strike, after their union pressed ahead with industrial action over a wage dispute.

The current strike, the third and longest in the ongoing wage dispute between the Gewerkschaft Deutscher Lokomotivfuhrer (GDL) union and the railway operator, has been impacting some services since Wednesday afternoon. The industrial action is set to run until next Tuesday morning.

Deutsche Bahn claims it was “obliged to take action in the courts” after GDL rejected the company’s proposals for ending the strike. The union previously held two strikes in August, demanding a 3.2% increase in salaries and a pandemic bonus of €600 ($711).

The railway operator says it offered to meet the GDL’s demands, providing the requested pay rise, Covid bonus, and a shortened collective agreement, but that the union rejected it. GDL, in turn, said that Deutsche Bahn’s offer was “bogus,” only serving to “irritate the public and media representatives” with delaying tactics instead of seriously engaging with the union.

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GDL has previously claimed that the demands could be easily met by Deutsche Bahn, which had a revenue of around €40 billion ($47.46 billion) in 2020, decrying the railway operator’s actions as “injustice.”

The August strikes, which the union said were about securing “simple, comprehensive and justified” improvements to working conditions, halted around 700 trains from operating in Germany on one day, with only a quarter of long-distance trains operating. It was estimated by German economists that the strikes earlier this year cost the country’s economy around €100 million ($117 million) per day of action.

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