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Public workers begin third day of strikes

DPA/The Local · 5 Feb 2010, 08:34

Published: 05 Feb 2010 08:34 GMT+01:00

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Frankfurt commuters had to find alternative ways to work as S-Bahn train and U-Bahn metro workers refused to keep public transportation running. Meanwhile 16 of the city’s 49 bus lines were also down due to the strike, which is set to last until midnight.

“The U-Bahn is the backbone of the city mass transit system – it’s going to make an impact,” said leader of the transportation network Traffiq, Klaus Linek.

In Saarbrücken some 500 trash collection service workers and street cleaners did not begin work in the morning.

“Our strike will be followed 100 percent,” spokesperson for public workers’ union Verdi Michael Blug said there.

The union, which aims to get its workers a five percent pay increase, said strikes would be concentrated in the states of Hesse, Saarland, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony on Friday. In addition to mass transit services, city administration offices, child care centres, and vehicle registration centres will be affected.

Story continues below…

On Thursday some 52,000 Verdi members took part in strikes to encourage their state and municipal employers to make a new contract offer. But the employers have said Verdi’s demands are too high coming after the horrendous recession last year.

The second round of negotiations broke down without an agreement in Potsdam on Monday.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:34 February 5, 2010 by frankiep
Unbelievable. Massive unemployment, economies are crashing, crippling debt around the globe....All this and more and these people are striking from their secure jobs because they want more money?

I cannot feel bad for these greedy bastards for one minute.
12:40 February 5, 2010 by auniquecorn
Exactly: greedy bastards
19:34 February 5, 2010 by Talonx
Oh those greedy working class bastards . . . you two are ignorant scum. That is an argument not name-calling.

Ignorant - unaware, without critical thinking, unintelligent

Scum - garbage, trash, useless

I'll only need to make my case for frankiep, and it will then directly apply to auniquecorn as this 2nd poster merely agreed with all that frankiep had written.

On the charge of ignorance, I would point out that most of the context you try to set the striking action against does not apply to germany. Given the already present unemployment before the recession (due to bungled reunification policies), the fact that Germany's unemployment (~7%) is as low is it is is simply remarkable. It could also be noted that Germany's economy is in the green (but most measures). As for debt, give me a break. Your failure to even appropriately understand the Germany's context makes you ignorant on the accounting of the character of the strikers and - being ignorant + making strong arguments = scum. In fact you're probably worse than scum because your not only useless but actually stand in the way of 'use' or action.
19:56 February 5, 2010 by frankiep
Here comes the class warfare bullshit.

Strike a nerve there Talonx?

Public workers going on strike is the height of stupidity. Anyone with even an elementary understanding of economics would understand that. You want to increase unemployment, then just go right ahead and play this worn out class warfare crap and see what happens. Just who the hell do you think is going to pay for the increased salaries of these public workers?

But if it makes you feel better to call me 'ignorant scum' for realizing that striking here is absolutely idiotic and akin to shooting yourself in the foot then go right ahead and knock yourself out. I do have another question for you though. Besides increasing the demand for (and likewise the costs of obtaining) services such as child care and transportation, what do you think is going to happen once they do get their 5 percent pay raise? Let me answer that for you; either taxes will have to go up or public funds that were paying for other programs will have to be reallocated to pay for the poor oppressed "workers" who are now on strike, and/or prices in general will react to the increase in pay by also going up.

Now, do you care to regale me with any more of your working class hero crap?
20:05 February 5, 2010 by Legal E
Yep, the UK had this in the 70's. The Unions in Germany are just barking mad. I often wonder if they ever got past Kindergarden schooling as they seem to act like Children in the time of economic woes. Guess I stay at home Monday and work from my home office. Pity the people who have to travel to work.

Bring in Maggie!
20:06 February 5, 2010 by frankiep
Oh yeah, another thing that will happen is that the increase in salaries due to this strike will make these municipalities even more wary of hiring anyone else. Again, it's Economics 101; a union forced increase in salaries, while appearing to be good on the surface good for union members and anyone else who doesn't know squat about economics, will have the effect of increasing unemployment rates in that sector due to less money being available to pay new workers. Plus we will all also see the nice little bonus of having fare hikes to pay for all of this. But at least the workers will have their little "victory".

Now, who said that unions are full of selfish bastards...
22:29 February 5, 2010 by Talonx
Wow frankiep, can't even respond to my primary argument, you actually have to create another argument that I wasn't even on about. Don't build a scarecrow of me.

Just to reiterate, point one, in fewer words, you have no understanding of the current context of the German economic system (as any browser of your first claims, see 2nd post) can clearly see. Point two, what's more, you make strong arguments based on your thoroughly faulty premises. On point one I am justified in calling you out as ignorant and on point two as scum -- ignorant scum.

If you want to start a NEW thread that's quite alright. But I think before I get into it with you, you may want to adjust your assumptions about the state of the German economy. Contra classical economics, context does matter.

Regardless, I think I can help you out a little, precisely because taxes have increased, public workers want their share which should have increased along with their boses, but did not (this was at issue before the recession, the unions have only recently decided to push the point collectively as nobody has been hearing them out independantly). Is it ethical for one to profit off of the collective synergy of the many, perhaps (in my opinion no, but I won't argue that point here as I don't see it as relevant in the current context of the discussion), but should not a workers wage be at least some fixed function of the synergistic profit output. It should also be pointed out that your entire argument is based upon the assumption that some sort of scarcity of money earmarked for payroll currently exists, if this were the case why are politicians and the captains of public industry and services being payed more, where does that money come from? Those poor people, who could blame them for not wanting to hire more people when the current workforce refuses to see their wages minimized year after year as inflation occurs and their bosses adjust their own salaries, can they just be content to hang onto their ever-declining socio-economic status.

Ultimately, frankiep, it should set off the warning bells that you have a Brit who supports Thatcher backing your arguments (see Legal E). -- What a joke, worst thing to have ever happened to the people of Britain. -- Her administration saw a jumping-increase in the difference between the wealthiest and poorest and just like with Reagan some lovely stagflation of the Nth order (meaning that not even the wealthiest truly got wealthier, the poor just got poorer) and who can forget the lovely rise in racist nationalists in both countries as a result of the decrease in prosperity.

Before all of this though, you may want to actually try responding to my primary claim, if you've forgotten it already, simply look at my first post or to the top of this one for a more succint summary. :)

Get a clue and stop playing like everythings an ideology game.
00:25 February 6, 2010 by frankiep
Wow. You were all over the place there weren't you?

Concerning your primary claim. It does not matter a single bit. Economic facts are economic facts. When unions strike for higher wages it does its members NO benefit in the long run and, additionally, is detrimental to the economy as a whole. When employers are forced to increase what is spent on payroll whether it is through minimum wage laws or union blackmail it has the effect of increasing costs elsewhere as well as increasing overall unemployment. You can use the infantile tactic of calling me "scum" all you want but it doesn't change the fact that these are economic truths in every country and in every situation. So if you want to increase inflation even more, increase unemployment, and increase the overall tax burden (and by extension decrease the opportunities for real economic growth) then go right ahead and demand, via the threat of striking, that people be paid more than what their services are worth and watch what happens.

"should not a workers wage be at least some fixed function of the synergistic profit output."

No, absolutely not. A workers wage should be determined by how much the employer is willing to pay for the workers' services. If that is not enough then you either need to find a new line of work where you can earn what you are looking for, or suck it up. There are plenty of unemployed people around that have the ability (and very likely would jump at the chance) to do the same job for the going salary rate, so why in the world would anyone want to give into these demands if not for union extortion? Maybe when there is zero unemployment your argument would hold water but refusing to work because you want more money while there tons of unemployed people who could easily do the same job for the same amount is nothing more than greed and childishness.

Your last three paragraphs are truly stunning in just how ridiculous they are. Not that Thatcher and Reagan have anything to do with this, but at least you managed to show that you're knowledge of them doesn't go much further than some sort of daily kos rant. Seriously? From that to 'racist nationalists'? Are you high, pretending to be high, or just mentally "special". The ridiculousness of your statements is just magnified just a few lines later where you claim that I am playing an ideology game (never mind the fact that you were the who brought up Reagan and Thatcher, and started going on about the working class against the rich). I really think you need to get some sort of psychiatric help because this much anger cannot be normal. That is not an insult, it is an argument.

I now await your reply where you will no doubt call me 'ignorant scum' (btw, why is it that nearly every left winger almost immediately starts throwing around insults towards anyone who doesn't share their views of a workers utopia) a few more times. In the meantime, try reading a book on macroeconomics.
01:06 February 6, 2010 by DavidtheNorseman
frankiep wrote:

"Concerning your primary claim. It does not matter a single bit. Economic facts are economic facts. When unions strike for higher wages it does its members NO benefit in the long run and, additionally, is detrimental to the economy as a whole."

Sorry mate, this is the same old tired lie told by every tyant wanna be the business world has ever produced. The only thing decent wages threaten is excessive profit margins - ergo sum the hatred of your kind for those who try and defend their homes and families from the predatory actions of the few.

Germany's unions are far from greedy or stupid. How much has the price of bread risen in the last year? The price of gasoline over the last 5 years?

95% of the rich guys I've ever known wail about paying their workers too much (even though it's often a pittance minimum legislated wage) and dream of the good old days of slavery. At the same time they buy vast estates and holiday 4+ times a year where ever on the planet they want. It is truly disgusting.

Good luck to the German unions fighting for their families and homes!

(PS - I'm a raving conservative but totally ashamed of those who call themselves such and have no other interest but shortchanging and cheating their employees.)
08:47 February 6, 2010 by Talonx
frankiep, If you don't think a worker should get paid more, along with their bosses when the company does better, which direction do you think the extortion is really running?

And just plain funny, you write, "Concerning your primary claim. It does not matter a single bit. Economic facts are economic facts." So you agree that you were wrong in your outlining of Germany's economic context, but you don't think this matters, what's funny is you later emplore that I should, "In the meantime, try reading a book on macroeconomics." Do you even know what Macroeconomics is, it's not just large classical economics Mr. ignorant scum. Context always matters. There is no more such a thing as an 'economic fact' as there is an 'sociological fact', sure we may use the terms but these are rather propensities and tendencies, get a clue.

As for R. and T., I've read plenty, especially on who their star economists played data mining games to inflate tax receipts (when calculating they would use inflation figures from the past but refused to add in the inflation figures for the present making it look like the rate of receipt collection jumped, this is in just about every peer-reviewed journal that's ever done an analysis on the matter), in truth once one makes the correction you can see that the economy was stagflated during their time in power. And with regards the rise in Nazism, I am not high, it is a fact that membership numbers jumped in both countries during their reign, membership in neo-nazi groups is coupled with socio-economic status (as is the case for all gang activity actually), as socio-economic status decreases a larger proportion of the population will join gangs (this is like your economic fact a sociological fact).

As for psychiatric help, you simply stated what you think, you didn't make an argument that I was insane (unless, 'nu uh, your insane', counts as an argument). I reiterate my original claim (which I supported with evidence that you make strong claims from an ignorant position, making you ignorant scum) and cast yours aside as without grounds. :)

As for DavidtheNorseman, thanks for playing the good cop, but don't entertain any illusions about talking sense into frankiep, I post counters to his arguments merely for the sake of others that would peruse this article, so that they too do not become ignorant scum, plus it's always nice to get those true colors out. I'm curious though, do you know about the German situation well? have you been following these strikes that have been occuring since 2007 for this 5% wage increase?
11:16 February 6, 2010 by MJTinNOLA
Sorry Talonx, I hate to tell you this, but frankeip is right. I am working on my Masters in Political Economy at the University of Kassel, so I DO know a thing or two about both Economics and Politics, (as both my advanced Economics Theory professor will tell you and my summa cum laude degree in political science will also testify). Verdi IS indeed being greedy. As I understand it, the governments involved have made a counter offer for a raise which is smaller than what VErdi had hoped. Verdi is just trying to show that the labor movement is not dead. As is usual, these ignorant Marxists (and they are ignorant) have forgotten the lessons Lenin taught about such things: it is better to accept a small victory than make no progress at all.

And you can talk about the "German context" all you like, but you still cannot ignore the baics of economics. Let me remind you that as the price curve shifts up, the demand curve always shifts down. Why? basic law of supply and demand. As wages go up for these workers, government spending has to go down on other things, and the services provided get more expensive which impacts YOU. I would find a simple economics text book and read chapter 1 if I were you.

And yes, frankeip is correct about job security. If the German government wants to reduce unemployment, they can easily do it with increases in public sector spending (proven to be effective time, and time again, but often ignored) but they will be unable to do this if they have to statisfy people who already have well-paid, and secure jobs. So what you end up doing is helping a few become better off, while sacrificing people who have much less. Is that the fair solution your absurd Marxist thinking demands?

And it is also a stupid strategy to target the strikes where they are being targeted. Yes, I know Roland Koch is despised by Verdi, but so what Hessen , SA, Sachsen, and Saarland are NOTHING to the German economy. With the exception of Frankfurt, there is nothing in those places that would make a lick of difference. If Verdi was smart, (and they have proven not to be very smart), they would strike where it counts: NRW, Bayern, Baden-W. , N.-Sachsen, Hamburg, and Berlin. But no, they know that if they tried that it would not be good for them. So they take the coward's path and the ineffectual path as well. Typical idiots.

So there you have it: an educated opinion from someone who actually knows what he is talking about.
11:31 February 6, 2010 by frankiep
Regardless of whether you like it or not, I have stated facts. You have done little more than act like a child with your insults and ramble on about nazis. And I'm sorry, but you say that 95% of the rich people you have ever known wish for a return to slavery? Like just about everything else you have say here I am going to have to call bullshit on that.

Seriously, read an economics textbook. You'll be amazed at just how much you think you know is wrong.

@MJTinNOLA: it's nice to see someone else here who actually knows what they are talking about and who can write more than 5 lines without throwing around insults. But I'm afraid you're wasting your time with Talonx since he will just come back and call you an ignorant scum and/or a neo-nazi. As for me, I'm done wasting my time with him since he apparently seems to be incapable of critical thinking beyond his emotions.
13:30 February 6, 2010 by Talonx
MJtiNola, if you've really studied economics, been to economics 101, you would've learned that economics does not have laws in the same way that physics does. These things are only tendencies, if you can't except that outright I doubt your critical thinking skills and your credentials. I further doubt your skills and knowledge as you apparently think context isn't something, at base, to be considered. Sounds like your getting a sham degree friend (or that you only really internalize certain things your told, I highly doubt any european degree which includes the study of economics would exclude the philosophy and ethics of economics). You can make all the fallacious arguments from authority that you like, but at the end of the day, when it comes to the social sciences (of which economics is one, like it or not), the ultimate facts at hand are that nothing is the same across all (even similar) situations. If you haven't figured that out, good luck, you haven't learned anything.

Regardless, my tertiary argument was not about supply and demand, it was about the rights of the workers to recieve a pay increase when there bosses get one (of the same percentage, but these strikers aren't even asking that, they're asking 5%). frankiep would have it so this was not the case -- the situation would then be that as inflation continues and as bosses disproportionately increase their wages relative to workers, eventually you'll get a situation not unlike slavery. I see two options, drive to slavery or the bosses take a pay cut and proportion out the percentages in a fair manner (instead of raising ticket prices and increasing their own salaries every time the strikers gain the small fraction of a percentage of their bosses in pay increase). Please try to stay on track.

frankiep, your still ignorant scum, you said yourself that you didn't outline the proper context for Germany's economy, which was the premise upon which my argument that you are ignorant scum was based. As for reading a text-book, when I want the beginners heuristics I'll go to text books otherwise I'll read peer-reviewed articles and analyses, (telling me to read a text book is like saying that I could understand gravity, precisely, with only newtons equations -- sorry but I want Einstein). And, stop side-tracking by saying I'm throwing around insulst, I don't mean to injur, just to call a spade a spade (which by your own admission of my premises, I've sufficiently done).

MJtiNOLA isn't an idiot he's just sidetracked (by supply-demand) which was never the argument and overgeneralizing(context doesn't count?)
04:53 February 7, 2010 by DavidtheNorseman
Talonx, I am more familiar with the current difficulties of the British and North American public sector workers, but I have noticed that the same sort of assault has been launched now for some time in Germany - to whit the attempt to functionally reduce wages and benefits in the public and indeed any unionized or associated sector to suppress renumeration across the board. I think I started noticing the German situation about 5 years ago. It doesn't seem to have improved.

You will find many are confused because they really don't understand the very real differences between large businesses and small ones. You might have some success discussing things if you bring up a comparison between how a normal household manages its money and a major bank does - most people are aware they aren't quite the same situation :-) Then help them realize that larger corporations and governments are realistically structured far more like the Banks than Frau Schmidt's monthly budget (eg I knew a mid-sized Canadian operation that ran a profit simply from receiving government funding to shut down and start up. Impossible for a local baker or hausfrau to do.)

Most even in the Uni are taught the Marxist doctrines that "the pot is only so big so if I give you more you are stealing wealth/opportunity from X". After all it sounds reasonable that if there is only so much in the account and each person takes more there must be less people, n'est pas? You know why this is a red herring, but for many the realities of labour *producing* value are simply not on their radar.

You are also obviously aware that the more complex (and large) the entity, the more malleable the numbers......
18:03 February 9, 2010 by Talonx

It's always mind-boggeling when reaganites and thatcherites like those two above try and call others out as marxists and then don't even realise that even their precious classical economics is littered with the exact same theory they deride.

Thanks for the household - business heuristic, I hadn't thought of that. Though in the case of frankiep I think the problem really is more so ideological. And MJTinNola seems to not get the whole socio-cultural aspect (the primary one that economics is composed of), regardless.
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