Public service: tens of thousands in warning strikes

Employees in the public sector have once again stopped working, including in daycare centers, clinics and in garbage disposal. The wage dispute will continue on Thursday – but the positions are still far apart.

Shortly before the start of the third round of negotiations on the collective bargaining dispute in the public service, tens of thousands of employees in numerous regions of Germany again stopped working.

In North Rhine-Westphalia alone, 30,000 federal and municipal employees were involved in the warning strike, the union ver.di announced. In Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, more than 10,000 strikers came together, in Baden-Wurttemberg there were around 5,000, in Hamburg and Berlin around 4,000 each.

According to union information, the warning strikes affected city administrations, municipal clinics and hospitals, municipal utilities, savings banks, job centers and pension funds.

4.8 percent more salary required

With these actions, ver.di wants to put pressure on employers before the third round of collective bargaining in the public service of the federal and local governments on Thursday and Friday. For a one-year term of the new collective agreement, the unions are demanding a wage and salary increase of 4.8 percent, but at least 150 euros more per month.

The employers have offered a total of 3.5 percent more wages and salaries in three annual stages for the almost 2.5 million employees nationwide, as well as a special Corona payment and separate improvements for nursing staff.

Interior Ministry wants to honor "heroes"

Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer sees the employer’s offer as recognition of the work of employees in systemically relevant professions. "With our offer we honor what the heroes do in the crisis," said the CSU politician.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, employees in hospitals and care facilities can expect up to 1800 euros more per year as a result of the employer’s proposal. There should be a new care allowance of 50 euros per month for nurses, as well as a higher allowance for alternating shifts and a higher allowance for nurses in intensive care units. For employees in intensive care who receive all three allowances, this calculation results in a monthly increase of 150 euros.

Ver.di criticizes care allowance

Ver.di boss Frank Werneke criticizes the offer as inadequate. The proposal was "a bitter disappointment for employees in the health care system, in nursing and in hospitals", he said in the [sc name="domain"] interview. The negotiator of the municipal employers (VKA), Ulrich Madge, was optimistic that a breakthrough would be achieved in the third round of negotiations. "We want to get through this week – if possible in two days," he told the "Stuttgarter Zeitung".

The union is calling for a significantly higher care allowance of 300 euros. Ver.di boss Werneke said that "a great deal still has to be done" with employers so that an agreement can be reached in the third round of negotiations.

For the time being, no nationwide public transport strikes

In North Rhine-Westphalia, there was also a strike in local public transport today. In all major cities, buses, trams and subways stayed in the depots. However, ver.di wants to forego nationwide work stoppages in local public transport until the end of October, as the union announced today. The VKA is being offered "to come to an agreement on a process for the nationwide standardization of elementary working conditions such as vacation, overtime and supplementary regulations". Conceivable here is "if necessary a longer time horizon".

Ver.di calls for negotiations on a nationwide framework collective agreement for around 87,000 employees in local public transport. The union demands better working conditions for the workforce: the maximum working time in the driving service is to be reduced from twelve to ten hours, the rest period after the end of the shift is to increase from ten to eleven hours.