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BEERG Newsletter - Germany: Mega-strike hits transport

German commuters and visitors to the country faced serious disruption last Monday as transport staff across the country staged a strike to push for wage rises in the face of record inflation, hitting 8.7%. Workers at airports, ports, railways, buses and metro lines throughout much of Europe’s biggest economy heeded a call from the Verdi and EVG unions to take part in the 24-hour stoppage.

“A labour struggle that has no impact is toothless,” the Verdi leader, Frank Werneke, told the public broadcaster Phoenix. Verdi represents about 2.5 million public sector employees, while EVG represents 230,000 workers on the railways and at bus companies. Verdi is demanding a 10.5% rise in monthly salaries and EVG is seeking a 12% rise for its members. Employers – mostly the state and public sector companies – have so far refused the demands, instead offering a 5% rise with two one-off payments of €1,000 (£880) and €1,500, this year and next.

Some unions have recently succeeded in winning big pay increases. Postal workers secured average monthly increases of 11.5% earlier in March, and in November IG Metall, Germany’s biggest union, achieved rises totalling 8.5% for almost 4 million employees it represents.

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