Deutsche Bahn is less punctual than it has been in a long time, and according to the union, this is not only because of the many construction sites and the overcrowded rail network. The rail and transport union complains that the railway is largely in crisis due to lack of workers. “The shortage of skilled workers has also affected DB AG,” said Vice Chairman Martin Burkert of the German News Agency.
“The lack of staff is already causing significant bottlenecks in rail traffic and limited services on trains,” added Burkert. “Millions of overtime cannot cover the potential for train cancellations. There is an urgent need for action.”
In a letter to HR Director Martin Seiler, the union admitted that the number of employees has increased slightly. “However, we now receive urgent warnings from our colleagues almost every day about the lack of working staff. All changes in train operation, maintenance or signal boxes can no longer be managed.”
300 hours of overtime is not unusual
As a result, trains were not delivered on time, there was a lack of preparedness in the event of disruptions and shortages of staff, and the lack of drivers caused almost daily breakdowns. “In many areas, train traffic can only be maintained by working a large number of overtime hours.” 300 hours and more of overtime is not uncommon for train drivers.
The train is now less reliable than it has been in a long time. In the past three months, even 60 percent of long-distance trains were not on time. CEO Richard Lutz had said that the current woes were not due to a lack of workers. Instead, more and more trains are running on the network, which needs repairs. Meanwhile, a lot is being built.
Report: 6.8 million hours of overtime accumulated
According to the group’s most recent internal labor report from July, Deutsche Bahn’s wage-standard employees in Germany accumulated 6.8 million overtime hours, 300,000 more than a year ago. Overtime has been a hot topic at Deutsche Bahn for years. Before the Corona epidemic, for example, their number was 6.4 million in the summer of 2019. A few years earlier, eight million additional hours were on Deutsche Bahn’s account. The number of employees has increased since then.
According to the personnel report, Deutsche Bahn has 1,600 more employees in Germany than a year ago, a total of around 221,300. In many business areas, however, the number of workers was still below the plan.
© dpa-infocom, dpa:220917-99-794408/2 (dpa)