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Germany averts further train strikes as union members accept arbitration

A strike ballot showed 52.3 per cent of the German Railway and Transport Union (EVG) members have voted in favour of a collective arbitration agreement, averting further train strikes.

Meanwhile, unlimited strikes by employees of rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) were averted, as less than half of the union’s members voted in favour, reports Xinhua news agency.

A 75-per cent approval is required to kick off another round of major strikes.

“This means that we have a collective agreement based on solidarity that will bring a significant increase, in some cases of more than 50 per cent, especially for smaller and medium incomes,” EVG Chairman Martin Burkert told a press conference.

After more than half a year of wage disputes, the parties have agreed on the proposal submitted by independent arbitrators at the end of July, which provides a pay increase of 410 euros ($443) per month in two steps over a period of 25 months, and an inflation compensation bonus of 2,850 euros.

“With this deal, we recognize the excellent performance of our employees, even though it takes a lot out of us economically,” DB’s Board Member for Human Resources Martin Seiler said in a statement.

Germany’s transport system was severely affected by large-scale strikes this year.

The largest took place in late March, affecting millions of passengers on a single Monday.

Apart from impacts on major airports and bus, rail, and freight services, there were also strikes on highways and waterways.

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