End to Germany-wide strikes in sight as negotiations begin

DPA/The Local
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End to Germany-wide strikes in sight as negotiations begin
Strike action on February 28th in Bremen. Image: DPA

Strikes in the education, nursing and civil service sectors have been postponed across Germany as negotiations continue. Unions have threatened a return to the strike action that had paralysed much of the country earlier in 2019 should their demands not be met.


For parents of school and day care-aged children across the country - not to mention the tens of thousands of Germans who have had their dealings with official bureaucratic offices disrupted - an end to strike action looks to be in sight.  

Unions and employers from Germany's public service sector came together for a decisive series of meetings on Thursday in the hope that demands can be met and strike action can be averted. 

Since Monday, demonstrations have been held across the country, with the education, health and civil service sectors the worst impacted. 

SEE ALSO: Strikes to shut down schools and offices across Germany

Unions have called for a minimum six percent salary increase - roughly €200 euros extra per month - while in other industries such as education and nursing the demands are higher. 

In Berlin, about 16,000 employees took part in the warning strike on Wednesday, 6,000 more than the day before, reported the Berliner Morgenpost.

More than 10,000 teachers, educators and youth welfare office employees stopped working on Tuesday, and on Wednesday workers from the police, district offices and senate administrations joined in - closing many schools and offices around the city. 

Berlin Finance Senator Matthias Kollatz (SPD), rejected the initial demands, but is hopeful that progress can be made in today’s negotiations. 

Verdi union boss Frank Bsirske said that the increases are necessary to reflect structural changes in the German job market. 

At a rally in Bremen on Wednesday, Bsirske said “what has been proposed from the employers so far is insufficient.”

The head of the Civil Servants Federation (DBB) Ulrich Silberbach said the changes were in the best interests of state governments. 

Silberbach told DPA that “the states must follow the income development at the local and federal level. With regard to the current labour situation, this move is in their own best interests”. 

Strike action has been postponed in the coming days until the outcome of the negotiations is clear. If the negotiations fail, the unions have promised a vote on compulsory strike action which could affect several industries throughout the country.



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