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Commuters, parents hit by public sector strikes

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Commuters, parents hit by public sector strikes
Photo: DPA
12:19 CEST+02:00
Commuters were left struck at train stations and parents at home with their children on Monday as tens of thousands of public sector workers went on strike ahead of talks with employers this week.

This is the latest round of strikes organised by Verdi, Germany's leading service industry trade union, who are demanding a 6.5 percent pay rise for the two million public sector employees in Germany.

“We want to keep public disruption to a minimum,” head of Verdi, Frank Bsirske told Hannover newspaper Neue Presse on Monday. “But lots of Germans have said they think it's good that we're defending ourselves.”

In Baden-Württemberg commuters were left to fend for themselves on Monday morning as trains and buses stayed locked in their depots in Stuttgart as well as Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, Ulm and Esslingen. More than 10,000 workers stayed at home in the south-western state, Verdi said.

Parents had to stay home with their children in Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania, as state employed kindergarten staff joined the strike. Schwerin was particularly badly hit with 19 day-care centres shutting their doors for the day.

In Schleswig-Holstein, reports from Verdi show that in Kiel alone, around 8,000 employees from hospitals, street cleaning services, rubbish collection and kindergartens stayed away from work.

At the other end of the country, the busy ferry route across Lake Constance linking Meersburg and Constance was cancelled.

Kindergartens, hospitals, rubbish collection, public transport and city administration have all been affected by the strikes across the country since the beginning of the month this year.

Verdi rejected a recent offer of a 3.3 percent pay rise over two years and will be getting back into ring to push this offer up on Wednesday and Thursday in Potsdam.

Bsirske warned of more strikes if the talks were unsuccessful, and said he thought the chances of this was 50:50, but that they wanted to disrupt “employees not citizens.”

DAPD/The Local/jcw

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