The strike, organised by public workers’ union Verdi and Science Workers’ Union (GEW), were focused on Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia. Some 7,000 educators and social workers at kindergartens there plan to stay away from work at more than 300 state-run facilities on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“The goal is to increase the pressure on the politicians,” Verdi spokesperson Günter Isemeyer said in Düsseldorf.
Both unions have said they’re ready for a long fight to force state employers into providing better wages and healthcare options for 220,000 educators across the country.
According to union figures, only 58 percent of social workers and 26 percent of educators see themselves reaching retirement in good health under the current working conditions.
The unions refused an offer from the German Association of Municipal Employers (VKA) after negotiations in Berlin last week, saying it was “not worthy of negotiation.”
Depending on salary bracket, the unions want a wage increase of between €200 and €1,000, but state employers offered a total increase of €220.