German public-service strikes enter third week

20th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

20 February 2006, HAMBURG - A strike among public-service workers in many parts of Germany entered its third week Monday with no sign that municipalities and states were willing to back down in their demand for longer working hours.

20 February 2006

HAMBURG - A strike among public-service workers in many parts of Germany entered its third week Monday with no sign that municipalities and states were willing to back down in their demand for longer working hours.

The conflict, which is Germany's first major public sector work stoppage since 1992, has left garbage piling up on streets and forced schools and kindergartens to operate with skeleton staff.

Because no parking tickets are being handed out in many places, motorists have become bolder in breaking rules.

The main public service union, VerDi, says it will extend the strike to more places and other staff if the authorities do not back down in talks to be held Monday in the capital, Berlin.

The states and municipalities are mainly demanding that all staff increase working time from 38.5 hours per week to 40 hours with no extra pay.

Last week, 30,000 workers stopped work, but hundreds of thousands more continued normal work. The wave of strikes began February 6 in the southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Civic theatres have had to cancel plays, labour has been short at some municipal hospitals and accumulating garbage has become an eyesore in some cities, but most services have continued with lesser disruptions. In some of the 16 states there have been no strikes yet.

DPA

Subject: German news

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