Bonn and Cologne affected Verdi calls for another warning strike in NRW local transport

Düsseldorf · Verdi is going all out again. A two-day warning strike in around 30 municipal transport companies in NRW was still happening when a call for the next strike came. Local public transport in Bonn and Cologne will be affected once again.

Verdi calls for another strike in public transport, which will affect Bonn and Cologne.

Verdi calls for another strike in public transport, which will affect Bonn and Cologne.

Foto: Benjamin Westhoff

Millions of public transport passengers in North Rhine-Westphalia will once again have to expect considerable disruption on trams, trains and buses next week - on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 5 and 6. The trade union Verdi is calling on employees in around 30 municipal transport companies to go on a two-day warning strike, as it announced on Friday. Almost all major local public transport companies such as KVB (Cologne), Rheinbahn (Düsseldorf), DSW21 (Dortmund) and Stadtwerke Münster will be on strike. Stadtwerke Bonn (SWB) is also to go on strike.

The strike is in conjunction with collective bargaining on the working conditions of around 30,000 employees in the municipal transport companies. Two rounds of negotiations on the collective wage agreement proved unsuccessful. According to Verdi, their positions are far apart.

Verdi negotiator Heinz Rech once again accused the employers of not yet having presented an offer. "We want to make as much pressure as possible so that they understand we can be even tougher and we should resolve this at the negotiating table." Responding to a question about whether the public supports a strike, head of department Andrea Becker said: "We realize that there is understanding, but of course it is also annoying." When calling for better working conditions, she also referred to a high level of sick leave, a lack of skilled workers and investments, among other things.

Verdi NRW has so far held two one-day warning strikes at the beginning and middle of February as well as a two-day warning strike in around 30 municipal transport companies. The work stoppages had serious consequences. Trams and trains remained in their depots. In many places, only a few buses ran in the strike regions, they were operated by private bus services.

Verdi launched a wave of nearly nationwide warning strikes in local transport this week - with the main strike day being Friday. Together with Fridays for Future, Verdi wants to send out a signal to demand more money for local transport.

Virtually all major local public transport companies went on strike again on Thursday and Friday. One exception was the Aachen transport company Aseag, which is covered by a company collective agreement. Some other local transport companies were also not on strike by Verdi NRW.

Among other things, Verdi is calling for additional days off to relieve the strain on employees and make the jobs more attractive. Every day, buses and trains are canceled in all collective bargaining areas because there is not enough staff. The employers' association KAV NRW has referred to a tight financial margin in the wage dispute at state level. In addition, salaries had increased significantly as of March 1, as agreed some time ago. Given the shortage of drivers, additional days off would lead to an increased workload for the remaining drivers. The employers' association recently expressed optimism that it would be able to agree an overall package with the union in the third round of collective bargaining.

Orig.text: dpa

Translation: ck

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