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Minister calls for end to childcare strikes

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Minister calls for end to childcare strikes
Families Minister Manuela Schwesig. Photo: DPA
08:48 CEST+02:00
Families Minister Manuela Schwesig called on Wednesday for local governments to find a pay and conditions deal with daycare and social workers to avoid a new round of strikes.

“The negotiating parties should use the summer to resolve the conflict so that there is no threat of further strikes,” Schwesig told Bild.

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) politician added in her interview with the tabloid that she understood the grievances of the daycare (Kindertagesstätte or Kita) workers.

“Fair salaries for daycare workers is a justified demand. Children and parents need good daycare facilities.”

Unions Verdi and GEW rejected this week a suggested compromise from the mediator appointed to end rolling strikes that have hit much of the country.

Former mediator Herbert Schmalstieg told the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung that there was still a chance to reach an agreement, with different variables in the conflict that could be tweaked to either party's liking.

Parents bring children into Dresden town hall in June, in a protest aimed at getting local government and daycare workers to agree in their labour dispute. Photo: DPA

As an example he named the duration of the new contract, which could be altered at no additional cost to local governments but which might tip the balance in union negotiators' calculations.

Schmalstieg had suggested pay increases of between two and 4.5 percent for daycare and social workers in a proposal at the end of June.

While union negotiators present at the talks accepted the deal by a large majority, union members rejected it when they were polled.

The Union of Local Government Employers' Federations (VKA) has already rejected Verdi and GEW's demands for more concessions, saying there is not enough money available.

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