BERLIN, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Germany's main railway operator, Deutsche Bahn, has reached a wage agreement until 2021 with the train drivers' union (GDL) in the seventh round of negotiations, both sides announced on Friday.
Speaking to Xinhua, a GDL spokesperson said that "demographic and digital change pose great challenges for train staff." In order to make the professions more attractive and to win young future staff, GDL has fixated a series of measures together with Deutsche Bahn.
The wage agreement includes an overall pay rise of 6.1 percent and "significant improvements" in working hours, Deutsche Bahn announced. In addition, working hours would become more transparent and work break regulations would get optimized.
In February 2019, all Deutsche Bahn employees would also receive a single payment of 1,000 euros (1,140 U.S. dollars). From January 2020 onwards, bonuses for night work, work on Sundays and public holidays would also be increased, Deutsche Bahn added.
"The agreement with GDL is on the whole a strong esteem towards achievement of our employees," Martin Seiler, responsible for human resources at Deutsche Bahn, commented.
Train drivers' union chairman Claus Weselsky said that "despite some turbulences, the negotiations with the employer proceeded mainly constructively and in a pertinent, solution-oriented atmosphere". The new wage agreement would contain "considerable improvements in all vital concerns of train staff".
In December, Deutsche Bahn had already reached an agreement with the railway and traffic union EVG, following a warning strike that paralyzed rail traffic in large parts of Germany.