The German train drivers' union GDL called off an impending strike Saturday evening, the country's Transport Minister Wolfgang Teifensee announced -- although a final deal with the state-owned operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) has yet to be finalised.
Drivers were due to walk out Monday for an open-ended strike, potentially crippling both commuter and freight services.
GDL head Manfred Schell left talks with DB chief Harmut Medhorn at the transport ministry without speaking to reporters -- but the minister announced the strike was off and negotiations would continue next week.
The dispute between drivers and DB has dragged on since last summer and is the most bitter in the company's history -- with a three-day stoppage by drivers in November.
GDL is demanding substantial wage increases for drivers of up to 31 percent, although the sticking point is believed to be a demand for a stand-alone collective agreement between DB and the drivers union, with the two largest train unions -- Transnet and DBGA -- left to negotiate separately with the employer.
DB has so far rejected this, fearing it would drive a wedge between sections of its workforce. ( AFP )