Token strikes delay 3 million letters in Germany
Services union Verdi said 800 of its members had walked off the job in nine sorting centers.
Berlin -- Hundreds of German postal workers came out on token strikes Monday ahead of a ballot on an unlimited shutdown in support of demands for increased pay.
Services union Verdi said 800 of its members had walked off the job in nine sorting centers, including Berlin, Dresden, Duisburg, Hanover, Hamburg and Stuttgart.
Some 3 million deliveries were delayed, according to the union, Germany's second largest with some 2.2 million members in total.
Verdi is to ballot its members starting Friday on an all-out strike that could begin on May 2, the first major strike in the sector since 1994.
Deutsche Post, the former state mail monopoly, indicated it was prepared to move on its latest offer that would give postal workers a rise over two years of 5.5 percent in exchange for longer working hours.
The offer was "not the last word," Human Resources head Walter Scheurle told the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
Verdi said the offer meant a 41-hour working week and the loss of 12,500 out of 130,000 jobs.
Deutsche Post has been largely privatized over recent years, with the German state no longer holding a majority stake. It lost the last of its monopoly rights - letter delivery - at the beginning of this year.