One week after the failure of the arbitration in the collective bargaining dispute at Deutsche Bahn, the German Locomotive Drivers Union (GDL) explained its further approach on Thursday at an online press conference. The focus was on a resolution passed unanimously by the main board and the tariff commission, which can confidently be described as a bang.
Because the GDL announced that in future it would not only take responsibility for train drivers and other occupational groups of the train crew, but “for the entire railway system and all represented system-relevant occupational groups”. This is an open declaration of war on the railway and transport union (EVG) competing in the group and belonging to the DGB. The GDL chairman Claus Weselsky accused the EVG of “always compliant stirrup holder of the employer doing the dirty work for the DB” when it comes to lowering wages. His union stands in the way and should now be “eliminated”.
Indeed, after the expiry of a moratorium at the end of this year, DB has announced that it will insist on the application of the Unified Collective Bargaining Act and that EVG, as the union with the largest number of members in the entire group, will have sole collective bargaining power for all professional groups. As part of the arbitration, the management even demanded that the existing GDL collective agreements be wound up. The GDL was “by no means ready to hand over the hard-won collective bargaining and socio-political achievements in the cloakroom and to reveal its members to the common arbitrariness of the DB and the” Income Reduction Society “(EVG),” said Weselsky fiercely. And not only the train staff, but also workshop employees, wagon masters, dispatchers, signal technicians, supervisors and other direct staff in the railway companies and railway infrastructure companies deserve “real recognition that will only actually manifest itself in new collective agreements under the umbrella of the GDL”. They are all “worth more than a 0.75 percent increase in income per year,” as the railways and EVG agreed in a restructuring collective agreement in September.
One will now start to open the GDL to other professional groups in order to then enforce collective agreements as the union with the largest number of members. There will be no more room for the management’s “yellow house union”. We know that »many colleagues are waiting for such a step« and we will »invest all of the experience and power of GDL« in order to meet these expectations.
This would be a historic step for the GDL trade union, founded in 1867, which ended a collective bargaining agreement with the other rail unions because of their consent to real wage reductions in the course of the group’s stock market plans. For the GDL, based on the existing collective agreements, there is still an obligation of peace until February 28th.
Until then, you will be prepared accordingly and confidently enter into collective bargaining. Weselsky emphasized that the GDL had the strength to enforce its demands with labor disputes, should have got around the railway management.