German unions are planning yet another strike for Monday, 27 March, sources have told Reuters. An official announcement is due to be made at a press conference later today.
The strike, organised by unions Verdi (Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft) and EVG (Eisenbahn- und Verkehrsgewerkschaft), will affect all public transport modes, with train and bus services expected to be heavily disrupted, as well as the aviation sector.
The unions have been taking industrial action for a while in a series of negotiations over unfair wages in the face of the rise of the cost of living. Verdi is asking for an increase of 10.5% or a minimum of 500 euros per month, while the employers are offering a 3% increase and a one-off payment of 2,500 euros over two years.
Just before the third round of negotiations, we will show the employers what we expect from them at the negotiations starting next Monday: that they will finally deal with your demands and pay you the respect you deserve!Verdi told members
According to data form Germany’s Federal Statistical Office Destatis, although nominal wages have increased by 3.4% in 2022 compared to the previous year, the highest increase since 2008, the high 7.9% inflation means real wages have actually decreased by 4.1%, the strongest drop since 2008.
In the negotiations with employers, Verdi is representing approximately 2.5 million workers in the public sector for the federal and local governments, including employees in public transport and at airports, while the EVG is representing 230,000 employees in train, including national operator Deutsche Bahn, and bus companies.
On Tuesday, 21 March, more than 50,000 employees took to the streets across the country. Previously, strikes at Germany‘s Düsseldorf, Cologne/Bonn and Stuttgart airports caused the cancellation of about 681 flights, disrupting 89,000 passengers on 17 March. On 13 March, strikes in Hamburg, Hannover, Bremen and Berlin also caused hundreds of flight cancellations.
“If nothing happens now with pay, then we are all in for another chaotic summer, and we must avoid that at all costs”, Verdi Vice President Christine Behle told German media in February.
According to German news outlet DW, nationwide calls for industrial action have also been issued for nursing homes, hospitals and other health institutions. On 15 March, strikes were reported in several hospitals in Hamburg and Kiel. Other parts of the country also showed industrial action activity as well. Verdi called similar strikes earlier this year in kindergartens, schools, clinics and other parts of the German public sector.