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German rail strike called off

Staff writer |
German railways operator Deutsche Bahn on Thursday announced an end to a drivers strike that had paralysed train travel in the country, after the feuding sides agreed to mediation.

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Fresh trouble appeared to be brewing for Deutsche Bahn elsewhere as the biggest rail union threatened industrial action if a pay deal was not reached soon. Deutsche Bahn said that "millions of rail passengers can breathe a sigh of relief".

"The GdL (train driver union) strike is over with immediate effect," it said in a statement, adding that the company and the union had agreed overnight to have a mediator appointed to settle their months-long dispute over wages, work hours and negotiating rights.

DB said it was "pulling out all the stops" for services to return to normal as soon as possible. It would be able to announce at around midday when normal services could resume, it said.

The group's head of personnel Ulrich Weber said: "We're very relieved. Our customers and employees can breathe easier. Mediation, rather than strike, is what is called for now. Calm needs to be restored."

GdL, for its part, said its members would return to work at 7:00 pm (1700 GMT).

Deutsche Bahn transports around 5.5 million passengers and over 600,000 tonnes of cargo in Germany every day.

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