German university hospital doctors extend strike
20 March 2006, BERLIN - Doctors at Germany's university training hospitals extended their strike action on Monday to press demands for more pay and a shorter working week.
20 March 2006
BERLIN - Doctors at Germany's university training hospitals extended their strike action on Monday to press demands for more pay and a shorter working week.
Hospitals in 15 cities in the southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg as well as in the country's most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia were affected by the stoppages.
The strike was called by the doctors' association Marburger Bund, which is demanding pay raises of up to 30 per cent, improved working conditions, and a cut in working hours.
The association said emergencies would continue to be dealt with at strike-bound clinics.
Hospitals in 10 cities were affected by a one-day stoppage by doctors last Thursday, following the collapse of talks with employers.
Health Minister Ulla Schmidt said Monday that the doctors' demands would cost the state up to 10 billion euros (12 billion dollars) and appealed for a resumption of talks to resolve the dispute.
The doctors' action came as a public sector strike Baden-Wuerttemberg entered its seventh week, following the breakdown of mediation over the weekend.
The strike, which is Germany's first major public service work stoppage since 1992, has left garbage piling up on streets and forced schools and kindergartens to operate with skeleton staff.
Employers want to extend the working week from 38.5 to 40 hours without extra pay - a move rejected by the services industry union Verdi, which believes it could lead to job losses.
A proposal put forward by two arbitrators for a graded working week of between 38.5 and 40 hours for different sectors of the state's 220,000 public service workers was rejected by both sides on Sunday.
Similar proposals were accepted by public service workers and employers in the city-state of Hamburg earlier this month, ending the work stoppage there.
Subject: German news