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German trains hit by drivers strike

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German trains hit by drivers strike

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German train drivers at private regional rail companies went on strike for 24 hours on Monday in Berlin and the states of Brandenburg and Saxony. The walkout is over wages and working conditions.

The GDL train drivers union said its negotiations with national rail service Deutsche Bahn are making progress, so no strikes are planned at the national level but it is unhappy with the response of the private rail companies.

The union wants a nationwide pay agreement to cover all Germany’s train drivers, which would mean the private firms bringing their wages up to the same level as Deutsche Bahn. GDL’s union leader for Berlin, Saxony and Brandenburg, Frank Nachtigall, said: “We want equal pay for equal work.”

It is also demanding a five percent wage increase and better guarantees against layoffs.

The companies that affected by the industrial action were Abellio, Arriva, Benex, Keolis, Veolia and Hessische Landesbahn, along with their smaller subsidiaries which provide around one fifth of Germany’s passenger rail service. Some of then laid on bus services for passengers.

Of Germany’s 26,000 train drivers, 6,000 work for private companies.