German railway reaches pay deal with main union

German railway operator Deutsche Bahn and its main union said Saturday they had reached a pay deal after strikes disrupted services earlier this week.

German railway reaches pay deal with main union
EVG negotiator Regina Rusch-Ziemba and Torsten Westphal, EVG General Manager, at a press conference on Saturday. Photo: Jörg Carstensen/DPA
The EVG union, which represents most of the 160,000 DB workers, agreed a 6.1 percent pay rise in all — 3.5 percent payable from July 2019 and 2.6 percent from July 2020.
EVG originally demanded a 7.5 percent pay hike while DB offered 5.1 percent. Employees will also get a one-off payment of 1,000 euros ($1,130) just before the first phase salary increase, EVG and DB said.
EVG negotiator Regina Rusch-Ziemba said the union had won comprehensively after strike action had “sent a clear sign” to the company of workers' determination.
The agreement “is an important sign of (DB's) esteem for its workers,” DB human resources head Martin Seiler said in a statement.   DB will now be able to focus on improving its services, especially on punctuality, he said.
The much smaller GDL train drivers union remains in dispute with DB, announcing Friday that talks with management had failed.

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New sanitary rules set for rail passengers between Switzerland and Italy

Trains between Switzerland and Italy are circulating again, but new measures are in place.

New sanitary rules set for rail passengers between Switzerland and Italy
Rules are in place for passengers going to Italy. Photo by AFP.

Authorities from both countries announced last week that all cross-border rail services would halt because COVID-19 safety checks couldn't be guaranteed.  

An Italian government decree requires that train operators carry out temperature checks on passengers, who also must show they’ve tested negative for the Covid-19, and have a self-declaration form justifying travel to Italy.

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) said its personnel does not have the capacity to carry out such checks.

But just days later, Swiss president Simonetta Sommaruga and Italian Minister of Transport Paola De Micheli decided that the EuroCity services between the two countries would be maintained to a limited extent.

The two parties announced on Sunday that they have worked out a system of health checks that will allow the train traffic to continue.

They will mandate the Italian police to carry out sporadic checks on trains, including on the Swiss side.

To cross the border, passengers will have to have a temperature test, a negative coronavirus test, and a certificate to explain reasons for travel.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Cross-border train service between Switzerland and Italy to continue running 

However, cross-border workers returning to Italy from their jobs in Switzerland will be exempted from the obligation to carry the form.

“This requirement would have been problematic in view of the regional objectives around the mobility and the quality of life of people who live on both sides of the border”, said Norman Gobbi, president of Ticino’s cantonal government.

In all, 70,000 Italians work in Ticino. 

Those who commute by train rather than by car use regional TILO trains, which connect Ticino with the Italian region of Lombardy.

From December 13th, when the new SBB timetable came into effect, two pairs of EuroCity trains run on the Gotthard axis and two pairs on the Simplon axis. 

• EC 313 dp. Zurich 07:10, arr. Milan 10:50 am
• EC 316 dp Milan 11:10, arr. Zurich 2:50 p.m.
• EC 34 dp Milan 13:05, arr. Geneva 5:21 p.m.
• EC 37 dp Geneva 07:39, arr. Milan 11:40 am
• EC 50 dp Milan 07:20, arr. Basel 11:32 am
• EC 57 dp Basel 12:28, arr. Milan 4:40 p.m.