“Ver.di claims that there is a need to catch up. That, however, is not serious, because public services have not had the increase in productivity seen by other sectors,” Hagen Lesch, a union expert at the German Business Institute, told Stuttgarter Nachrichten.
“The wage disputes could last for weeks or months,” said Hagen Lesch.
The first strikes started at 3:30 am Thursday morning in Saarland with the early morning shift. It then continued to North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Hesse. Strikes are due to begin in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein and Baden Württemberg during the course of the day.
In Saarland, 1,500 employees from day-care, sanitation and local government services are taking part in the so-called warning strike. In Bavaria 3,000 employees from more than 30 hospitals are striking. In North Rhine-Westphalia staff in public clinics are striking, especially those working in food preparation and cleaning.
Ver.di expects more than 10,000 hospital, day-care, local government administration, government owned banks and utility and sanitation service employees to strike. Thus far, employers have fallen three percent short of Ver.di's demand, offering a five percent increase in wages. The salary negotiations affect around 1.3 million federal and local government employees.