Public workers threaten strikes as wage negotiations begin

The first round of wage negotiations for some two million public sector employees began on Wednesday in Potsdam, as their union Verdi said it would not rule out strikes to pressure state and federal employers.

Public workers threaten strikes as wage negotiations begin
Photo: DPA

“We are looking for a solution at the negotiating table, that is not a question at all,” Verdi leader Frank Bsirske told broadcaster Deutschlandradio Kultur. “They will be difficult negotiations.”

Verdi and the German Civil Service Federation (DBB) aim to get employees a five percent wage increase within a year – which could cost some €4.5 billion in taxpayer money.

Meanwhile the VKA association for municipal employers has pointed to states’ empty coffers. President Thomas Böhle told broadcaster ZDF the funds were “illusory” and said he expected “hard debate.”

Employers have said a much smaller wage increase would be appropriate.

“The Benchmark is 1.2 percent, but under no circumstances five percent,” Böhle said.

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