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German railways, drivers' union near deal to end series of strikes
December 17, 2014 / 4:12 PM / 3 years ago

German railways, drivers' union near deal to end series of strikes

BERLIN, Dec 17 (Reuters) - German state-run railway Deutsche Bahn and the drivers’ union GDL reached a partial agreement on Wednesday bringing them closer to settling a dispute that has caused major disruption to rail travel and freight in recent months.

GDL chief Claus Weselsky told reporters that his drivers would get a one-off payment of 510 euros for 2014, but that a wage agreement for 2015 not had not yet been agreed.

Deutsche Bahn confirmed that in a statement, adding: “Strikes are therefore off the agenda for the time being.”

Further talks were scheduled for middle and late January.

GDL’s industrial action has affected 5.5 billion people who travel by rail each day as well as industries that rely on rail freight like automakers, chemical companies and steel producers.

Coinciding with a series of strikes at German flag carrier Lufthansa, the transport stoppages have prompted the government to draft a law to limit the power of small unions like those grouping German train drivers and airline pilots.

The draft legislation, to be submitted to parliament early next year, would make a wage deal with the largest union in a company applicable to all employees.

Economists estimate the rail strikes have cost the economy up to 100 million euros a day by forcing assembly lines to suspend activity because of supply shortages. (Reporting by Stephen Brown; editing by Ralph Boulton)

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