Gewerkschaft Deutscher Lokomotivführer

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The Gewerkschaft Deutscher Lokomotivführer (GDL, engl.: German Train Drivers' Union) is a German trade union that represents workers in train companies. It has a membership of 34,000.[1]

2007 strike[edit]

In August 2007 the GDL planned to strike after talks failed with Deutsche Bahn, the main German railway operator, over a range of demands from the union. A key disagreement was GDL's wish to represent its members in collective bargaining processes, independently of other unions representing staff in that job category.

On 8 August 2007, the labour court in Nuremberg declared that a strike of affected long-distance and goods services would be illegal if carried out before 30 September, claiming it would affect the national economy too severely.[2]

On 2 November 2007, the labour court in Chemnitz overturned a previous judgement limiting strike action to short-haul routes.[3][4] After the decision the GDL declared a three-day strike. It was the first national rail strike since 1992 and of unprecedented duration.[5][6][7] The strike ended as the union had planned, at 2:00 a.m. CET on the morning of Saturday, November 17, 2007, but without a new contract.[8][9][10]

On 19 November 2007 the labour court in Nuremberg admonished Deutsche Bahn for its practice of contacting multiple labour courts around the country to try and obtain an injunction against strike action, which it regarded as misuse of the legal system.[11]

2014 strikes[edit]

In 2014 the GDL called a number of strikes of the German railway system as a result of Deutsche Bahn declining its demands for a shorter working week (reduced from 39 hours to 37 hours), for a 5% pay increase and for the right to independently represent 17,000 railway workers not working as engine drivers in collective bargaining processes. Deutsche Bahn maintained that it would only enter collective bargaining with a single trade union per job grouping, as was the case until June 2014 when GDL had an agreement with the much larger EVG union.[12]


  1. ^ En Allemagne, la justice interdit la grande grève des conducteurs de train, Le Monde, 8 August 2007 (French)
  2. ^ "Streik liegt auf Eis". Zeit Online. ZEIT ONLINE GmbH. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Court Rules German Train Strikes Can Be Expanded". Deutsche Welle. Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Press Release 7". Sächsisches Landesarbeitsgericht. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  5. ^ Landler, "German Rail Strike Disrupts Travel and Freight," New York Times, November 16, 2007.
  6. ^ Chambers, "Economic Damage Feared As Rail Strike Grips Germany," Reuters, November 14, 2007.
  7. ^ "Will Train Drivers Steal Christmas?", Der Spiegel, November 16, 2007.
  8. ^ "German Rail Strike Ends But More Walkouts Loom," Reuters, November 17, 2007.
  9. ^ "German Rail Strike Ends, Union 'Very Happy' With Result," Associated Press, November 17, 2007.
  10. ^ Rose, "German Railway Union Halts Strike, Demands New Offer By Nov. 19," Bloomberg Business News, November 17, 2007.
  11. ^ "Arbeitsgericht Nürnberg rüffelt Bahn". Verkehrsrundschau. Springer Fachmedien München GmbH. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  12. ^ "Der Rekordstreik kommt". Handelsblatt. Handelsblatt GmbH. Retrieved 6 November 2014.