Debts during negotiations: Verdi defends strike day as a “strong sign”

outstanding during negotiations
Verdi defends strike day as a “strong sign”

While negotiations are still ongoing, warning strikes paralyze large parts of public transport. There is also criticism from local authorities. Verdi boss Werneke, on the other hand, sees it this way: “It’s better to send a strong signal now than weeks of labor disputes.” However, the civil servants’ association dbb is already warning of an increase in the number of outstanding payments.

Verdi boss Frank Werneke has defended the comprehensive warning strike in the transport sector in Germany at the start of another round of collective bargaining for the public sector. “The day of the strike in the transport sector is intended to once again make it unmistakably clear to employers that the employees clearly support our demands,” said Werneke. This applies in particular to the required minimum amount of 500 euros, which employers have so far rejected.

At the start of the third round of negotiations in the collective bargaining dispute in the public sector, the unions are bringing public transport in Germany to a standstill this Monday. Verdi and the EVG railway union want to increase the pressure in their current collective bargaining rounds. The railroad, airports, local transport in seven federal states, ports and shipping routes and the motorway company are on strike.

“Until now, the federal government and local authorities have categorically rejected a socially balanced collective bargaining agreement,” Werneke continues. Verdi cannot accept that. “That’s why we’re doing it now. It’s better to send a strong signal now than weeks of labor disputes with the associated consequences.” The third round of negotiations in Potsdam is scheduled for three days. Whether there will be a result is completely open. Regarding allegations by the employers that the massive warning strikes were a burden on the negotiations, Werneke said: “Public service workers, including those in the middle income groups, see the enormous price increases for electricity, gas and food as a particular burden.”

The head of the civil servants’ association dbb, Ulrich Silberbach, warned against an expansion of the labor disputes. “Either we cut through the knot and find an agreement, or we face another wave of escalation and strikes,” said Silberbach. Verdi and the civil servants’ association dbb are demanding 10.5 percent more income over 12 months, at least 500 euros more, for the 2.5 million employees of the municipalities and the federal government. Employers do not want a minimum amount – and offer 5 percent more wages over 27 months.

District council criticizes walkouts

The German district association expects difficult wage negotiations because of the major strike. “Such demonstrations of power during ongoing negotiations clearly overshoot the target,” said the President, District Administrator Reinhard Sager from the CDU, the editorial network Germany.

The German Association of Towns and Municipalities warned of a financial overload on the municipalities and predicted higher burdens for the citizens. Association general manager Gerd Landsberg tells the “Bild” newspaper that many municipalities have to raise garbage fees or property taxes. In addition, many municipalities could invest less money in the renovation of school buildings in the future.

Passenger association is pushing for a quick agreement

The Pro Bahn passenger association called for a quick agreement between the collective bargaining partners. “We expect the unions and employers to get together quickly and achieve an adequate result,” said Pro-Bahn honorary chairman Karl-Peter Naumann to the editorial network Germany (RND). “Agreements have already been reached in individual local transport companies, such as the Hamburger Hochbahn. The collective bargaining partners should take this as an example.”

What is special about the day of the strike is the interweaving of various collective bargaining agreements. At the EVG, there are further talks with the various railway companies from the middle of the week. Negotiations with Deutsche Bahn should only continue after Easter. According to Verdi, the round for public service at the airports is affected because of the municipal employees, but also local negotiations for ground handling services and nationwide talks for aviation security. The coordinated approach met with severe criticism from employers – the strikes for the population were no longer recognizable as a pure warning strike.

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