Train travelers in Germany are set for another week of frustration after more industrial action was called in the pay and conditions dispute, which began in November between members of the GDL union and national rail operator Deutsche Bahn, or DB.

The latest six-day walkout was announced on Monday morning, to begin on Wednesday, and is the fourth such action to have taken place. The first two happened toward the end of last year, and another three-day stoppage took place earlier this month.

DB, which failed in a legal challenge to stop the strikes, said its latest pay offer includes an average 4.8-percent pay rise, with a further 5 percent in April 2025, as well as an inflation-related compensatory payment.

In addition, from 2026, onward workers on shift patterns would be entitled to work one hour less per week, or receive additional pay if they did not want to reduce their hours.

But the GDL has its own set of pay demands and wants an immediate three-hour reduction in the working week, without any loss of salary, an idea that the rail operator has rejected as totally impractical, as it says it is already trying to recruit to fill staff shortages.

“With its third and supposedly improved offer, Deutsche Bahn has again shown that it is continuing its previous course of noncompliance and confrontation — there’s no trace of a willingness to reconcile,” said a media release from the union.

Even before the latest strikes were called, DB’s Head of Personnel Martin Seiler had criticized the union’s attitude, saying it was using the strikes for self-promotion, rather than as a last resort.

Upon hearing of the new strike action, a DB representative said the company “relies on compromises “while the union “exacerbates the conflict beyond measure … anyone who does not even come to the negotiating table with a new offer of up to 13 percent (pay rise) and the possibility of a 37-hour week with the same salary is acting absolutely irresponsibly”.

In addition to disruptions caused to travelers, there will be an economic impact, with Reuters reporting that almost one-fifth of Germany’s freight is transported by railway.

The ongoing dispute with rail workers comes as the under-fire coalition government is at loggerheads with Germany’s agriculture sector over cuts to fuel subsidies.

Large-scale protests, convoys of tractors in city centers and farmers’ blockades have taken place nationwide since the start of the year, with mainstream political parties expressing concern that the increasingly popular far-right Alternative for Deutschland party will latch onto the mood of dissatisfaction with the government and exploit the protests for its own end.