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Public workers strike across Germany

DDP/DPA/The Local · 3 Feb 2010, 09:55

Published: 03 Feb 2010 08:25 GMT+01:00
Updated: 03 Feb 2010 09:55 GMT+01:00

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The action is part of a labour dispute with state employers and is meant to pressure them into giving workers a five percent wage increase.

The early morning strikes affected hospitals in Munich, Wolfsburg, Frankfurt, Koblenz and Berlin.

At the Vivantes hospital in Berlin’s Neukölln district some 60 workers walked off their jobs, forcing the cancellation of scheduled surgeries. Emergency surgeries will still go ahead, Verdi said.

Workers at other clinics in Lower Saxony in Bremen planned to strike later in the day.

Waste disposal services in Nuremberg came to a stop too.

But Verdi said it would refrain from calling street maintenance workers to strike in cities still struggling to clear roadways after several snow storms.

The temporary strikes follow months of negotiations in which the workers have tried to gain better pay and new contract rules. On Monday a second round of talks between unions and employers in Potsdam collapsed.

Details of other affected cities was expected to be released throughout the course of the day.

A Verdi leader reportedly gathered some 50 union members outside a hospital in Frankfurt-Höchst, meanwhile another 2,500 were expected to meet before Frankfurt city hall by midday.

Meanwhile Verdi head Frank Bsirske defended the strikes against critics who have said city and state employers simply can’t afford pay raises following the financial crisis.

Because Germany is “in the middle of a crisis,” Bsirske told broadcaster ARD, the country should “counterbalance” the situation in order to overcome. He also complained that employers had yet to produce a concrete offer for a deal.

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But president of the VKA association for municipal employers Thomas Böhle told radio broadcaster Deutschlandfunk it was unclear “what lies behind the unions’ five percent,” and called the warning strikes “totally inappropriate.”

He also called a five percent pay raise an “unrealistic number” because the financial situation of most communities is “really bad.”

DDP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:09 February 3, 2010 by hkypuck
Hey, your tax dollars at work! ..or is it their own tax dollars? How does this work exactly?

The public workers ask for a 5% raise. Due to this raise they then have to pay a slight tax increase. Then in the summer the public workers ask for another pay increase claiming that, due to the increase in public taxes they can no longer afford to be paid their current salary, and the cycle continues.
23:13 February 3, 2010 by CR09
public service not so great ..... hardly noticed the absence of it
23:42 February 4, 2010 by Frenemy
@"public workers": bahhhh, don't worry about it (its not as if you had responsibilities that aren't superseded by more important things...like, oh I dunno, the hippocra....hmmmm, ummm, some sort of "oath" or whatever, but ehh f#ck it!!! (if its too difficult to get to the s-bahn, just take it easy!!)
11:01 February 5, 2010 by michael4096
Reminds me of the telephone cleaners - we don't miss them at all

(For anybody not recognising the reference, read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - it's worth it.)
14:18 February 5, 2010 by galam
Well in this cold weather, it becomes very hard for one who need to use the public transport. I am living in Frankfurt and my work place is situated quiet far away I have to take one bus then change two trains.

you can guess how much pain it takes to reach the office when this kind of strike happens.

to be honest I really don't know why the strike is going on about. And the bigger question is the people who are planning this kind of strike, why can"t they publish their striking plans well before. So that people like me does not have to suffer much.
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