German Rail Strike Cut Short as Parties Agree on Arbitration

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A rail strike that had threatened to cripple industrial production and commuting in Europe’s largest economy was cut short on Thursday after Deutsche Bahn AG and the GDL train drivers union both said they agreed on an arbitration.

The open-end strike, which had started Tuesday for freight and Wednesday for passenger services, will end at 7 p.m. today, the GDL union said in a statement. The rail operator agreed to honor collective bargaining agreements for all groups of employees the two parties will agree on, regardless of the outcome of separate negotiations with rival union EVG scheduled for today. That had been GDL’s key demand, which is fighting for different types of train drivers to get the same pay.

Matthias Platzeck, a former chairman of the SPD social democrats party, and Bodo Ramelow of the Left Party, Thuringia’s state Prime Minister, will lead the negotiations, scheduled to take place between May 27 and June 17.

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