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Train drivers in Germany win cut in working week without a pay cut

TRAIN drivers and crew members for Germany’s main railway operator will see their working week reduced from 38 hours to 35 by 2029 without having their pay cut.

The arrangement is central to a deal that state-owned operator Deutsche Bahn reached on Monday with the GDL union, which represents many of its drivers and some other workers, after five months of negotiations punctuated by strikes.

The main sticking point was GDL’s demand for working hours to be reduced without a pay cut. 

The deal foresees standard working hours being reduced to 35 hours in four stages from 2026 to 2029. But employees will be able to choose anything from a 35- to 40-hour week, with those who choose to work longer getting more pay.

The agreement also features a pay rise totalling €420 (£360) per month in two stages and a one-time payment of €2,850 (£2,444) to compensate for inflation.

Deutsche Bahn personnel chief Martin Seiler described it as “an intelligent compromise” offering the company flexibility and extra capacity “in the difficult labour market environment.”

GDL chairman Claus Weselsky said that the shorter work week was “urgently necessary” to attract more employees to the railway.

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