40,000 public sector workers strike in Germany

13th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

13 February 2006, BERLIN - Up to 40,000 German public sector workers were expected to join strikes which have closed hospitals and left piles of stinking garbage, union leaders said Monday.

13 February 2006

BERLIN - Up to 40,000 German public sector workers were expected to join strikes which have closed hospitals and left piles of stinking garbage, union leaders said Monday.

At least 10 of Germany's 16 states will be hit by strikes this week in the country's first major public sector work stoppage since 1992.

Civil servants overwhelmingly voted on Friday to expand their strike rather than work a 40-hour-week, instead of the current 38.5 hours, with no extra pay.

Mayors and other local leaders, suffering from tight budgets, had called for the 40-hour week.

Industrial action began a week ago in the south-western state of Baden-Wuerttemberg where garbage has piled up in city centres.

Strikes hit North Rhine-Westphalia state Monday where Cologne's University Hospital was shut with only emergency services operating.

"We can hold out easily for weeks," said a Ver.di trade union official in an N-TV interview.

Aside from hospitals and garbage removal, the strike is also closing kindergartens and highway maintenance stations.

DPA

Subject: German news

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