German train drivers' union calls for 2-day weekend strike in bitter pay dispute

BERLIN – A union representing German train drivers has called members out on a two-day strike this Saturday and Sunday, escalating a bitter pay dispute with national railway Deutsche Bahn.

The GDL union said the strike will begin at 2 a.m. (0000 GMT) Saturday and end at 4 a.m. (0200 GMT) Monday. Freight train drivers will walk off the job starting 3 p.m. (1300 GMT) Friday.

The strike follows a 14-hour walkout Wednesday.

GDL wants a 5 per cent pay increase and shorter working hours. It also claims the right to negotiate pay for other staff traditionally represented by a rival union.

GDL chairman Claus Weselsky said his union is prepared to make concessions on matters of substance but won’t fulfil Deutsche Bahn’s “pipe dream” of negotiating with only one union.