Teachers in 200 of the capital’s 800 schools walked out on Monday as part of nationwide strikes organised by Verdi to increase pressure in their negotiations for a 6.5 percent pay rise. Wednesday should see Bremen, Saarland and Saxony-Anhalt take the stage before North Rhine-Westphalia at some point over the coming weeks.
Verdi also called other public workers, such as those involved in road maintenance, regional government and universities to strike, meaning that as action progresses over all 16 federal states, disruption could be more widespread.
Known as “warning strikes” in German, the action is not open-ended but more a day of muscle-flexing to show employers the unions mean business. This time, each state will take its turn until, Verdi hopes, an agreement is found.
Verdi is pushing for a raise of raise of 6.5 percent for some 800,000 public sector workers as well as guarantees that trainees will be given work – and a €100-a-month increase in their pay.
Discussions are already underway and the third round is for 7th March after another day of strikes in Berlin and Brandenburg on March 6th.
“We are going to heat up the atmosphere and the high number of people striking shows that we have the power to do so,” said Doreen Siebernik, co-chair of educator’s union the GEW. She criticised the fact that employers had not yet made an offer, as without one a compromise could not be negotiated.