Deutsche Bahn, the German transport minister Andreas Scheuer, the Eisenbahn- und Verkehrsgewerkschaft (EVG), DB’s works council as well as the employer association AGV MOVE have signed the ‘Bündnis für unsere Bahn‘ (‘Alliance for our Railway’) in Berlin.
Highlighting the importance of the rail sector, the document states that, “The coronavirus pandemic has illustrated to us once again the societal significance of freedom of movement, unrestricted mobility and a functioning goods transport. The railway in Germany along with its employees is making an essential contribution to the functioning of society during this difficult crisis; it is maintaining people’s mobility and securing the logistical supply of industry and the populace – in Germany and Europe.”
The railway is of systemic importance as well as a vital component of the green energy transition. Rail is the backbone to climate-friendly mobility and logistics.
However, the coronavirus pandemic has had a massive impact on the rail sector. Demand in all areas has collapsed. This has led to unprecedented falls in turnover and therefore to massive economic damage for Deutsche Bahn.
The parties note that in order to tackle this crisis together and with solidarity, all of them must be part of the solution. This, they say, is the only way to avoid permanent structural damage to Deutsche Bahn and to maintain the growth potentials of the umbrella strategy ‘Starke Schiene’ (‘Strong Railway’), to continue the digitalisation efforts and to secure current and future jobs and working conditions.
The agreement aimed at tackling both the economic and social consequences of the crisis at Deutsche Bahn aims to give employees the necessary security and stability with regards to their jobs and career prospects.
German Government Contribution
The German government will continue with the planned investments in the existing rail network, in expanding the network and in the technological improvements, bearing in mind the aim of pushing ahead with the ecological transition in the transport sector and of significantly supporting the country’s climate goals.
There are a number of options to help DB close its funding gaps. For example, the German parliament’s budget committee will be asked to raise the borrowing limit.
Given that credit conditions worsen with increasing debt, the government is willing – in line with the relevant state-aid checks – to suggest that the majority (80 percent) of the remaining damage (after countermeasures) from the coronavirus pandemic is to be compensated through an increase in equity of Deutsche Bahn.
Deutsche Bahn Contribution
The management of Deutsche Bahn has agreed to take no bonus for 2020. The management boards of subsidiaries and the senior executives will also reduce their bonus amounts.
Deutsche Bahn is also pursuing the goal of organising its administration in a more streamlined, efficient manner.
The most important points of agreement for the EVG were that there would be no job losses at Deutsche Bahn. The planned hiring figures would remain and would not be reduced. Furthermore, the planned investment in the rail infrastructure would still be implemented.
The agreement was signed by Andreas Scheuer, DB CEO Richard Lutz, Klaus-Dieter Hommel from the EVG, Florian Weh from AGV MOVE, and Jens Schwarz from the DB works council.