Strikes to shut down schools and offices across Germany

Parents of nursery and school children, health care patients and many others will feel the effects of warning strikes in the public sector starting this Tuesday morning.

Strikes to shut down schools and offices across Germany
Strikes already took place in Hamburg on Monday with a sign reading "Close the gap" and spelling out 'Gerechtigkeit', or fairness. Photo: DPA

In Berlin, educators, teachers and social workers have been called upon to take a two-day strike, and about half of all day-care centres will remain closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, reported the Berliner Morgenpost.

Public sector strikes also affected Berlin’s public services on February 13th, with many closures throughout the city.

SEE ALSO: Strikes shut down schools and offices across Berlin on Wednesday

Throughout Germany, public sector unions are demanding six percent more salary – at least an additional 200 per month. They also are asking for an increase of 300 in salary for nursing care, and that apprentices and trainees in all sectors receive an additional 100 per month.

“Work in the public sector must become more attractive again,” said GEW (Union for Education and Science) chairwoman Marlis Tepe on Monday at a rally in Hamburg, at which around 3,000 of the city's public sector employees gathered.

“Many institutions are already no longer in a position to fill vacancies because too few young people are deciding to work in the state service,” she added.

Full-day warning strikes and central rallies are also taking place in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Bremen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saarland, Saxony-Anhalt, and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, according to the Verdi union.

Among other things, the strike will also affect administrations, road construction work, libraries, university clinics, universities and student unions as well as vocational schools.

In Baden-Württemberg, the state's psychiatric hospitals will be on strike on Tuesday.

Large demonstrations and rallies will take place on Tuesday in Düsseldorf, Munich and Saarbrücken. Verdi boss Frank Bsirske and the federal chairman of the Civil Servants' Association (DBB), Ulrich Silberbach, will speak at a central rally in front of the state parliament in Düsseldorf.

This Thursday, trade unions and state representatives will meet in Potsdam for a third round of negotiations. A breakthrough agreement this weekend is considered possible, according to the DBB.

Negotiations will be held for one million wage-earners in the states other than Hesse, which has its own collective bargaining system.

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How easy is it to get an English-speaking job in Germany?

Lots of foreigners in Germany hope to get a job or climb the career ladder. But are there still opportunities for English speakers who don't have fluent German? We spoke to a careers expert to find out.

How easy is it to get an English-speaking job in Germany?

The pandemic turned our lives upside down. As well as having to isolate and be apart from family members, many people found themselves in need of a new job or decided they want a change in career. 

If you’re in Germany or thinking of moving here, job searching is of course easier with German language skills. But many people haven’t had the chance to learn German – or their German isn’t fluent enough to work in a German-only environment.

So how easy is it to find a job in Germany as an English speaker?

We asked Düsseldorf-based career coach Chris Pyak, managing director of Immigrant Spirit GmbH, who said he’s seen an increase in job offers. 

“The surprising thing about this pandemic is that demand for skilled labour actually got even stronger,” Pyak told The Local.

“Instead of companies being careful, they’ve hired even more than they did before. And the one thing that happened during the pandemic that didn’t happen in the last 10 years I’ve observed the job market was that the number of English offers quadrupled.”

READ ALSO: How to boost your career chances in Germany

Pyak said usually about one percent of German companies hire new starts in English. “Now it’s about four percent,” said Pyak. 

“This happened in the second half of 2021. This is a really positive development that companies are more willing than they used to be. That said it’s still only four percent.”

Pyak said he’s seen a spike in demand for data scientists and analysts as well as project managers. 

So there are some jobs available, but can foreigners do anything else?

Pyak advises non-Germans to sell themselves in a different way than they may be used to. 

A woman works on her CV in Germany.

A woman works on her CV in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Christin Klose

“In your home country you have a network, you have a company you used to work for that people know,” said Pyak. “This might be partly the case in Germany if you worked for an international company. But for most employers you are a blank sheet of paper, they know nothing about you. So unfortunately if they don’t know you or your country, they will assume you are worse (at the job) than Germans. It’s completely unjustified but it’s just how people are. 

“Get the employer to see you as the individual person you are, the professional you are. This requires that you have a conversation with somebody inside the company, ideally the decision maker, meaning the hiring manager or someone in this team.”

Pyak said it’s important to go into details. 

“Don’t think of me as a foreigner, think of me as ‘Mark who has been working in IT for 15 years’,” said Pyak. “Don’t read the job advert (to the manager), ask them what his or her biggest worry is and why is that important? And then dig deeper and offer solutions based on your work experience. Share actual examples where you proved that you can solve this problem.”

READ ALSO: 7 factors that can affect how much you’re getting paid

Pyak says foreigners in Germany can convince managers that they are right for the job – even if their German isn’t great. 

“What I advise clients at the beginning of the interview is to ask very politely if you can ask them (managers) a question. And this question should be: how will you know that I’m successful in this job, what is the most important problem I need to solve for you in order to make myself valuable? And then ask why this problem is so important. And the answer to that achieves a million things for you – first of all you’ve established a measurement by which you should be measured. 

“Then when you get into detailed discussion you can always tie your answer back to the question you can solve, which usually makes up 70 or 80 percent of the job. If you can solve this problem then what does it matter if you do the job in German or English?”

So in answer to our original question – it seems that getting an English-speaking job in Germany can’t be described as easy but it is very possible especially if you have the skills in your chosen field. Plus there are ways to increase your chances. Good luck!