Berlin – Breathe a sigh of relief for the railways, their customers and also for the economy, which is dependent on functioning supply chains. The state company and the rebellious GDL have agreed on a collective agreement after months of negotiations. Another strike is therefore off the table for the time being. Is everything alright now? Not at all.
This collective agreement knows many losers and hardly any winners. First of all, there is the railway itself: in the last year alone, the company posted a record loss of almost six billion euros. This year too, the railway is likely to generate a billion-euro minus. A responsible union would have taken this into account and left it with the demand for job security.
Tariff dispute at the railway: GDL boss Weselsky has only one goal – to expand power
But that was never the point of GDL boss Claus Weselsky. His goal was and is to weaken the competing union EVG, to attract as many members as possible to the GDL – in order to expand its own power in the group. Weselsky does not like the fact that the railway is now approaching the EVG to talk to its members about improvements in the collective agreement from last year. His aggressive rhetoric speaks volumes. However, it is questionable whether a strategy that constantly relies on maximum escalation will pay off in the long term.
In any case, the duel between the unions is far from over. Even if the members of the EVG can initially look forward to improved conditions, this conclusion shows above all that their union was presented by the significantly smaller GDL. It is a point victory for the railway that it was able to enforce the application of the collective bargaining law, but it also means: The struggle for members and influence continues. GDL boss Weselsky has already announced that he will not stop. It remains uncomfortable in the railway realm.