Last updated: 05:49 PM ET, Sun May 03 2015

German Passenger Train Drivers Set to Begin 5-Day Strike Tuesday

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | May 03, 2015

German Passenger Train Drivers Set to Begin 5-Day Strike Tuesday

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There may be a wrench in the works for tourists getting around Germany via rail in the coming week, as a 5-day strike for German train drivers is set to begin at 2 a.m. Tuesday local time, ending 9 a.m. on the 10th, the Associated Press reported.

Presaged by a freight train driver walkout on Monday afternoon, the AP said that this is the lengthiest strike yet in a long-running dispute between the GDL union and railway operator Deutsche Bahn.

The demands are a 5 percent pay increase and shorter working hours, but a major issue in negotiations, according to the AP is the union’s insistence to negotiate not just for the drivers, but for other staff, such as conductors, who are represented by a bigger, rival union.

Deutsche Bahn says pay deals cannot be different for employees doing the same job, and suggests arbitration as a resolution.  

During their walkout announcement, GDL accused the railway operator of "trampling on GDL members' constitutionally protected rights" and stalling until a new statute intended to curb disruption by smaller unions becomes active in the summer.

There's good news and bad news for travelers. “During previous walkouts, government-owned Deutsche Bahn has kept a limited number of trains running on key routes," the AP said, but added, "there have been widespread cancellations.”

Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt did not have kind words for the strike announcement, commenting to the Bild newspaper, "the limit of people's acceptance of this dispute is increasingly being reached."

Travelers, keep tabs on changing train schedules at Deutsche Bahn’s website

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