German train drivers call off strike, ready for mediation


(dpa/GNA) – German train drivers union GDL called an end to its latest strike early Thursday after agreeing to take a long-running dispute with rail operator Deutsche Bahn over salaries and working conditions to mediation.

wpid-train.pngThe two-day industrial action is the latest in a series of strikes conducted over the past 10 months that have caused commuter chaos for millions and that economists say could shave 0.1 per cent off German economic activity this quarter.

The stoppage will end at 7 pm (1700 GMT) on Thursday, GDL chief Claus Weselsky said, adding that its members would also refrain from striking during the mediation period scheduled for May 27 – June 17.

The parties to the dispute agreed on two mediators to lead the negotiations, with Deutsche Bahn choosing Matthias Platzeck of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) and GDL naming Bodo Ramelow of the leftist Linke Party.

Despite the highly-touted agreement, additional strikes are not off the table. EVG, another German train drivers’ union that has more members than GDL, said that there was a “50-50 chance” that its members would stage another walkout on Thursday.

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