Verdi defends wage demands after talks fail

Verdi defends wage demands after talks fail
Photo: DPA
The leader of the public workers’ union Verdi has defended his organisation’s demands after a third round of negotiations with state and municipal employers failed late on Thursday night.

Verdi has demanded a five percent pay increase for its two million members, staging strikes in recent weeks across the country, affecting hospitals, child care centres, road maintenance, rubbish collection and public transportation. But states and cities have said such a hefty raise is unrealistic following the financial crisis.

“The differences are still grave,” Frank Bsirske told broadcaster ZDF on Friday, saying the two sides had failed to agree even after Verdi lowered its demand to a 3.5 percent wage increase.

“In the end there must be a mutual solution with acceptance rules for trainees, with partial retirement and with a wage increase that at least reflects inflation and the productivity progress of the economy,” he told ZDF. “And as part of this I think the employers will have to budge, we’ve also budged.”

Both Verdi and employers have agreed to call in arbitration scheduled for February 18 in Hannover. They plan to have a solution by the end of the month.

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