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Old November 6th, 2014, 04:35 PM   #2381
KingNick
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The hate campaign in Germany against the GDL is nothing short of disgusting.
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Old November 6th, 2014, 04:49 PM   #2382
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Why is it disgusting?

Every time there's a tube strike in London the RMT becomes a focus for people's anger which is quite understandable.
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Old November 6th, 2014, 04:51 PM   #2383
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If a union wants to make a strike on a visible public service where the state is a virtual monopolist, it ought to have an extremely good case so that the public won't hate them.
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Old November 6th, 2014, 04:52 PM   #2384
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There will always be someone who are going to be annoyed about this, but there are also a suprising amount of people who will react sympatically to the cause, even if they can't get to work.
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Old November 6th, 2014, 05:01 PM   #2385
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This strike in Germany isn't only affecting passengers. It's also affecting all the companies which are involved with the shipment of rail cargo.

And that's massively important given the significance of the Germany economy in Europe and the fact that many DB-hauled cargo trains are conveying transit cargo, between, for example, Sweden and Italy.
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Old November 6th, 2014, 05:13 PM   #2386
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More reason to give in to demands then...
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Old November 6th, 2014, 05:28 PM   #2387
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More reason to destroy the GDL more like...
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Old November 6th, 2014, 05:47 PM   #2388
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German railway seeks injunction as train drivers stage massive strike
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Old November 7th, 2014, 04:57 PM   #2389
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And their injunction has been rejected later yesterday. Funnily (actually not that funny), a rental car company (Sixt) took a portrait of Weselsky and subtitled this with "Co-worker of the month - inexpensive rental cars at Sixt".

EDIT: Breaking News (an hour old and only in German): As an "act of reconcilation", the GDL now plans to end its strike on Saturday instead of Monday.

Last edited by Skalka; November 7th, 2014 at 05:23 PM.
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Old November 8th, 2014, 12:49 AM   #2390
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Road_UK View Post
More reason to give in to demands then...
So next time they'll know they can strike to have 6 months of holiday every year
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Old November 8th, 2014, 08:25 AM   #2391
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... and work 2 days a week, 4 hours a day with a break lasting 3,50 hrs...
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Old November 8th, 2014, 10:59 AM   #2392
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The main issue that has caused the stalemate in negotiations lies elsewhere. GDL is traditionally the trade union of the train drivers. Like pilots they are irreplaceable in case of strike and have a strong bargaining stand. As the other rail staff were traditionally represented by a rather toothless union, by now a majority of train staff have joined the GDL. However DB rejects the GDL's right to negotiate for this staff and would prefer to have them represented by the by now minority union, which they can rely on as easy-going. I agree that the press campaign against GDL exaggerates discontent and that most passengers were rather cool about things.
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Old November 9th, 2014, 09:05 PM   #2393
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TedStriker View Post
More reason to destroy the GDL more like...
For making use of their right to strike, which is protected by I don't know how many legal regimes?
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Old November 9th, 2014, 09:55 PM   #2394
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For those who know the details: how justified do you think were the demands of strikers? Are they poorly paid or have less holidays compared to others employed in similar industries?

Without knowing that a bit difficult to say whether it makes more sense to support union or management. After all any concessions will result in some combination of lower profits, higher ticket prices, delayed maintenance or higher taxes.
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Old November 10th, 2014, 08:28 PM   #2395
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Quote:
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Are they poorly paid or have less holidays compared to others employed in similar industries?
Income:

Average income of full-time employees in Germany is €41,000 per year.
That's almost the exact same - slightly more actually - that a train driver with 20+ years experience and scores of specializations can earn at maximum. The demanded 5% salary increase would push this group to what's likely to be the average income next year.

The average income of train drivers is somewhere around €33,000-34,000, i.e. around 80% of total average.

Train drivers who are leftover Beamte from before privatization are salary group A6 to A8 (which, for ease of comparison, would be the non-commissioned officer salary track in the army). This is about equivalent and roughly in the same sub-average region.

Work hours:

The push is not so much against the 39-hour work week - that's mostly what the media focuses on because that's an easy-to-work-with demand.

The primary push is to reduce the possible shifts per week from the current 7-in-6-days per week to 5-in-5-days per week.

DB train drivers currently work about 110-115 hours overtime per year (2-3 hours average per week), that's part of this problem. GDL wants to cap this at 50 hours overtime total.
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Old November 10th, 2014, 09:06 PM   #2396
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€41,000 a year in Germany allows a pretty good life so no reason to be too worried about those older guys, but how about young guys just starting out? How much do they earn in their first job just after finishing an apprenticeship?
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Old November 11th, 2014, 08:53 AM   #2397
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kato2k8 View Post
Average income of full-time employees in Germany is €41,000 per year.
The average income completely disregards income distribution and is a great example of the saying: there are lies, big lies and there are statistics.
If I have a population of 11 persons of which 10 earn 1 euro and 1 earns 100 euros, the average would be 11 euros, despite 91% of this population earning only 9% of the average.
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Old November 12th, 2014, 08:24 AM   #2398
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Nothing wrong with statistics, just need to use it correctly. For income the proper way is to use median instead of average. Then it doesn't matter how many millionaires you add to the list. Most likely this number already is median, sadly most people can't tell a difference…

Median income for a full time employee in Switzerland is ca 58,000 euros per year.
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Old November 13th, 2014, 06:55 PM   #2399
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An interesting article from the IRJ about rise of long distance bus operators in Germany and challenges facing passenger rail service:http://www.railjournal.com/index.php....html?channel=

Quote:

THE announcement on October 14 that Veolia Verkehr will withdraw all of its InterConnex trains between Leipzig, Berlin and Germany's Baltic Coast from the December timetable change is the first tangible evidence that long-distance bus competition is already starting to hurt German passenger rail operators.

Germany liberalised its long-distance bus market in January 2013, enabling buses to operate between cities in direct competition with train services for the first time. By the middle of this year there were already 40 long-distance bus operators vying for business and the number of services has trebled since the market opened. According to a recent study by IGES Institut, the largest player is MeinFernBus (MFB), which has a 40% share of the market, followed by German Rail (DB) with its berlinienbus.de and IC-Bus brands, but there are also many small operators, which in contrast to Germany's inter-city rail business helps to make this a dynamic and highly-competitive market.

Traffic figures released last month by Germany's federal statistics agency Destatis suggest that all this dynamism might be harming long-distance rail ridership. Passenger numbers on inter-city trains fell by 0.5% in the first half of this year to 62 million, while long-distance buses saw an 8.1% increase in ridership to 1.4 million passengers. With so many new entrants coming into the bus market during this period, Destatis says the actual level of growth may well be higher.

With such a sudden increase in capacity in the long-distance passenger transport market, it's easy to see why conditions have become even tougher for open-access rail operator such as InterConnex, which have to keep fares (and therefore margins) low to compete with the incumbent DB Fernverkehr.

Pressure group Allianz Pro Schiene says that the federal government introduced legislation on liberalisation of the long-distance bus market three years ago with the promise of more choice for passengers, but warns this policy may now be having the opposite effect. "As long as long-distance buses remain exempt from tolls, no new entrant [to the rail market] will be able to survive this ruinous price war," says managing director Mr Dirk Flege. "The Ministry of Transport expressly said that buses would not be drawing passengers from trains but these promises have not been fulfilled. InterConnex is a warning sign - a purely commercial long-distance rail market in Germany is not possible."

Likewise, DB admits that liberalisation of the long-distance bus market is bad news for its inter-city rail business. In its 2014 Competition Report, DB notes "There are clear indicators that long-distance bus transport is luring a large number of potential passengers away from long-distance and regional rail. Based on current data, roughly one third of long-distance bus customers have switched from long-distance rail, which puts even more pressure on the earning power of long-distance services and on the operation of routes which have become unprofitable, particularly in the supplementary network."

Reading between the lines, this seems to suggest marginal long-distance train services that are not eligible for PSO funding are in the firing line. Rail is at risk of losing the most price-sensitive segment of the market – and this is a big chunk of its ridership – unless it can find a way to counter the effects of such intense competition in the long-distance bus business. According to the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), inter-city bus users in Europe tend to be younger or older travellers, the lower-income population, and international travellers, and these are the groups rail needs to target to maintain its market share in the face of bus competition.

High fixed costs are one of the key challenges that rail will need to address if it is to remain competitive in these conditions and there are questions here for politicians as well as rail operators. Veolia cites high infrastructure charges as one of the reasons why InterConnex became unsustainable. For a single journey between Leipzig and the Baltic coast, InterConnex pays infrastructure manager DB Networks around €1700 in track access fees.

A truly competitive inter-city rail market, with all the innovation and investment that would bring, is only going to become a reality in Germany – or anywhere else – if such charges are sustainable. But as long trains are forced to cover a much higher proportion of infrastructure costs than buses it looks set to remain little more than an aspiration.
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Old November 13th, 2014, 07:16 PM   #2400
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It's only natural that that would happen, given the price difference between rail and bus. As a rail fan, I don't mind paying an extra €15 to travel by train, but most of the times it's much cheaper to travel by bus (it can be something like £40 in the UK).
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