Copenhagen commuters stranded by S-Train delays

Passengers travelling to Copenhagen to begin their working week have experienced severe delays as drivers met over labour terms.

Copenhagen commuters stranded by S-Train delays
A halted S-Train at Copenhagen Central Station. Photo: Uffe Weng/Ritzau Scanpix

Many in Copenhagen may have experienced difficulty arriving on time for work as a result of the union meeting of S-Train drivers, which was scheduled for 7am on Monday, Ritzau writes.

The meeting is a step in ongoing negotiations over a new labour agreement for the regional train drivers.

The drivers are reported to be unhappy with terms currently on offer, while national rail operator DSB considers the meeting an interruption to drivers’ normal work in breach of employment terms.

DSB’s head of information Tony Bispeskov said early on Monday that the extent of the delays was uncertain.

“Service is very irregular, so it is important for our customers to stay updated via our website and,” Bispeskov told Ritzau.

“We will update both when we know more about what is happening,” he added.

S-Trains were stationary in a number of places, according to a message posted by DSB on its website on Monday. 350,000 people use the overground local trains daily, according to the operator.

Monday’s industrial action comes after a breakdown in negotiations between DSB and rail workers’ union Dansk Jernbaneforbund over a new labour agreement.

Train drivers are reported to be upset at DSB’s intention to reduce union representation in the negotiation structure from 99 to 29 members, according to an article posted on the union’s website on November 2nd.

That will reduce the ability of train drivers to influence labour agreements including in relation to work conditions and holiday, the union argues.

READ MORE: Labour disputes in Denmark


German steelworkers agree 6.5 percent pay hike after strike

Tens of thousands of steel workers in western Germany will get a 6.5-percent pay hike this year - the biggest jump in three decades - in a settlement that could set the tone for industry as inflation soars.

German steelworkers agree 6.5 percent pay hike after strike

The agreed increase would come into effect “from August 1st”, the IG Metall union in the region of North Rhine-Westphalia said in a statement Wednesday.

The 68,000 steelworkers in the industrial region would also receive a one-off payment of 500 euros for the months of June and July, the union said.

The outcome of the negotiations was “the biggest increase in wages in the steel industry in percentage terms in 30 years,” said IG Metall boss, Joerg Hofmann.

Germany’s largest union, IG Metall launched a strike action at steelworks in the west in May after management failed to meet its demands for an 8.2 percent pay increase.

On Thursday at the peak of the movement, around 16,000 workers across 50 firms downed tools, the union said.

READ ALSO: Should foreign workers join a German union?

“Rising inflation” and the “good economic situation” of the steel industry were the basis for IG Metall’s demands.

Consumer prices rose at a 7.9-percent rate in Germany in May, a record for the country since reunification in 1990 driven by the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.

The smaller number of steelworkers in the east of Germany, who are also seeking an 8.2 percent pay boost, have yet to reach their own agreement.

Negotiations are currently taking place in a number of sectors. In the textile industry, 12,000 workers in the east of Germany sealed a 5.6 percent pay increase at the beginning of May.

Meanwhile, negotiations covering the auto industry, and mechanical and electrical engineering will begin in November.

Despite the agreed rise the onus was still on government to relieve the pressure on workers form rising prices “in the coming months”, IG Metall boss Hofmann said.

Significant wage demands have prompted concerns of a wage-price spiral, where rising pay sustains higher inflation.

The European Central Bank last week said it would raise its interest rates for the first time in over a decade this July as it seeks to stamp out price rises.