Germany braces for rolling public sector service strikes

27th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

German public sector workers said they would embark on brief rolling strikes next week after a fourth round of talks broke down.

Berlin -- German public sector workers said they would embark on brief rolling strikes next week after a fourth round of talks with the federal government and local authorities broke down in Potsdam near Berlin Tuesday.

The token strikes, which have hit hospitals, public transport, daycare centers and administrative offices in recent weeks, are to target airports and police services as well from Monday.

The Verdi services union is demanding an increase of 8 percent over a 12-month contract for the 1.3 million workers employed by the federal government and the local authorities. Germany's 16 state governments are conducting separate wage talks.

The employers have offered up to 5 percent spread over two years. According to sources close to the talks, they were not prepared to raise the offer.

A fifth round of talks has been scheduled for March 6-7.

Verdi has steadily increased the pressure since the first token strikes were called on Feb. 14.

German workers have seen real take-home pay stagnate or even decline, in recent years in response to calls for wage restraint in the face of low growth.

Stronger economic growth of 2.9 percent in 2006 and 2.5 percent last year has provided ammunition for demands in various sectors for a substantial pay rise.

DPA with Expatica

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