German public sector strike set to expand

10th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

10 February 2006, BERLIN - German public sector workers voted Friday to expand strikes which have left garbage piling up, closed kindergartens and cut service in hospitals due to their rejection of working 18 minutes more per day.

10 February 2006

BERLIN - German public sector workers voted Friday to expand strikes which have left garbage piling up, closed kindergartens and cut service in hospitals due to their rejection of working 18 minutes more per day.

"Public workers are saying 'it's enough' - they won't take any more cuts or burdens," said Frank Bsirske, the chief of the Ver.di trade union.

Bsirske accused local governments of a "diktat" with their demand that workers put in a 40-hour-week instead of the current 38.5 hours.

An overwhelming 95 per cent of 60,000 Ver.di members voted in favour of expanding the strike which began on Monday in the south-western state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, he said.

There are about 220,000 people employed nationwide by cities and towns covered by the strike vote. Strikes will now spread to at least nine of Germany's 16 federal states and Bsirske said 20,000 workers would join work stoppages from Monday.

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

Aside from rubbish disposal and schools, the strike has led to snow not being cleared from streets and could hit crucial infrastructure such as sewage treatment.

DPA

Subject: German news

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