Source AP ©

Railway employees in Germany continue their strike amid wage dispute

German railway employees staged strikes for a third day Wednesday, causing disruption with walkouts at signal boxes in the west of the country before new talks in a wage dispute.

National rail operator Deutsche Bahn AG said the walkouts disrupted services on several major long-distance routes, including the Berlin-Frankfurt and Hamburg-Munich lines.

However, Wednesday's delays fell short of the disruption seen on Tuesday, when a union that represents many of Deutsche Bahn's train drivers called a four-hour strike.

The latest walkouts were part of a dispute involving the Transnet and GDBA unions, which represent a broad range of rail employees and are calling for wage increases of 7 percent for some 134,000 workers.

They have rejected an offer of a 2-percent raise in January, followed by another 2 percent in July 2009, and one-time extra payments of EUR 300 (US$400) to cover the rest of this year.

Deutsche Bahn CEO Hartmut Mehdorn planned to meet later Wednesday with leaders of the two unions.

On Thursday, Mehdorn is expected to meet with the train drivers' union, GDL, which wants a separate wage agreement for its members and is seeking wage increases of up to 31 percent for some drivers.

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