Manuel Cortes, general secretary for the Union for People in Transport and Travel (TSSA) has held “constructive talks” with the CEO of DB Cargo, Hans-Georg Werner in an attempt to avert a damaging strike that will bring the UK’s rail freight to a halt.
The union has been fighting to secure union rights and recognition for DB Cargo employees who are in scope to be transferred to a new joint venture with Maritime Transport Limited (Maritime).
The two sides have agreed to continue discussions over the coming days, but TSSA has been clear with the company that the dispute remains in place.
Cortes said: “Hopefully we can reach an amicable solution to this dispute.”
A total of 16 jobs at Trafford Park and Wakefield Terminals are due to be transferred to Maritime from the state-owned Deutsche Bahn Cargo (DBC) on April 1, 2019.
TSSA has claimed that, at present, Maritime is refusing to recognise its members’ rights to retain their union status.
Cortes said: “We will not stand idly by and let our members’ rights be stripped away by a union-busting company like Maritime.
“DB Cargo is acting in bad faith over this and we will not allow our members to be shoved around.”
The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), part of the governing coalition in Germany, has supported the union after the TSSA’s paid organiser was banned from visiting its members across UK depots and locations.
The union is preparing to take its case all the way to the German Federal Parliament – the Bundestag – with the support of the SPD.
Raff Stegner, deputy chairman of the SPD, said: “I am strictly opposed to workers in the UK being treated in this way by a publicly owned German company.”
Stegner added that because it is publicly owned, the DBC “bears a special responsibility towards the protection of labour rights.”
The TSSA believes that its members deserve to transfer with all their rights protected including the security of their union recognition and is currently working through its international affiliations to get support from German unions and members of parliament.