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German rail OKs union’s 35-hour-week demand to end months of dispute

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In the deal reached between Germany’s national rail operator Deutsche Bahn and the GDL trade union to end a punishing industrial dispute, the company confirmed to dpa on Tuesday that it has agreed to the union’s demand for a 35-hour work week.

Deutsche Bahn said the work week is to be reduced from the current 38 hours to the 35 hours demanded by the GDL in several stages by 2029, with wages remaining the same.

However, employees who want to still work 38 hours per week or increase their working hours to up to 40 per week will receive a 2.7% increase in pay per hour, according to the terms of the deal.

From 2027, there will then be a further optional reduction to 36 hours, from 2028 to 35.5 hours and from 2029 to 35 hours, the agreement states.

However, employees must register with their employer if they wish to take part in the reduced hours.

This is a major concession by Deutsche Bahn, which had proposed a 36-hour work week, but the union stuck to its 35-hour demand and accompanied that with several strikes.

On Sunday there were reports that both sides had reached an agreement after months of a bitter dispute.

Both sides, in separate press conferences, are expected to release further details on Tuesday.

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