Source Pravda.Ru

German train drivers and the rail operator Deutsche Bahn agree to talks

German rail operator Deutsche Bahn has agreed to mediated talks, aimed at preventing what could be the worst rail strike in 15 years.

Train travellers are facing faced major delays due to a strike on regional express trains.

Kurt Biedenkopf and Heiner Geissler, two veteran politicians, will mediate the problems which have beset commuters in Berlin and Hamburg.

The GDL union decided late Wednesday to mount industrial action in Germany's two biggest cities after a court blocked the planned start of a nationwide strike until September 30th on the grounds that it would hurt the economy, Malaysia Sun reports.

According to Euro News, on Wednesday, a court ruled any nationwide strike by train drivers would be illegal. But in Berlin and Hamburg rush hour trains ground to a halt causing commuter chaos. On Monday the train drivers' union GDL gave up on direct talks with Deutsche Bahn saying there was no point in any more negotiations. It is appealing the court decision forbidding the planned strikes.

In the meantime, the union has suggested former Christian Democrat politician Heiner Geissler, with experience in arbitration, fight its corner. The drivers are now saying they will consider a realistic offer. Deutsche Bahn has also suggested a mediator to the union to act on its behalf. He has been named as Kurt Biedenkopf, a former state premier and a Christian democrat, like Geissler. According to a recent poll more than half the German population think the train drivers are right to strike.

The 34,000-member rebel drivers' union wants a pay rise of up to 31pc. It is seeking a separate deal from that agreed between Deutsche Bahn and 134,000 members of two larger rail workers' unions who have accepted a 4.5pc increase.

The rebel union says its drivers are underpaid given the high level of responsibility and compared with their counterparts in other European countries, Gulf-daily-news.