German public sector employers have launched arbitration proceedings after inconclusive talks in the dispute with unions over pay, effectively suspending strikes that have hit the transport sector until after the busy Easter holiday period.
A third round of negotiations with unions Verdi and dbb followed strike action on Monday that brought railways and airports to a near-halt in Europe’s largest economy. It was the country’s largest walkout in over three decades, according to Verdi.
For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
The negotiations, in which unions are seeking a 10.5 percent pay raise for around 2.5 million workers, ended late on Wednesday without result, both sides said, prompting public sector employers to announce that they would launch arbitration.
“Despite clear movement, the employers were not prepared to make sufficient concessions to the employees on the minimum amount,” said Verdi chief Frank Werneke.
Employers had hoped that an additional tax-free one-off payment of 3,000 euros ($3,260) to compensate for inflation would sweeten their existing offer of an 8 percent pay raise.
Consumer prices surged by 9.6 percent in Germany in 2022, although price pressures have eased in recent months after a winter energy crunch failed to materialize and as supply chain problems abate.
“We went a long way towards accommodating the unions,” said Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, the government’s chief negotiator. “But the unions were not ready for an agreement. We must initiate arbitration.”
This process, which unions are bound to, puts a halt on any strike action for the coming weeks, until a commission of representatives from both sides and independent observers present their proposed solution, expected some time in the second half of April.
This shields the busy Easter travel period next week from disruption, but more strikes loom if unions and employers fail to agree with the commission’s help.
“It should be clear that employers will have to dig deep into their pockets,” VP Bank chief analyst Thomas Gitzel said.
German unions call for major transport strike on March 27
Man attacks 3 people with hand grenade, knife in Berlin
Man drives into multiple people at regional airport in Germany injuring at least five
To tackle labor shortages, Germany unveils immigration reform planGermany on Wednesday unveiled draft reforms on immigration, skills training and promoting immigration from Western Balkan countries, a bid by ... World News
Britain’s King Charles travels to Germany in first overseas trip as monarchKing Charles travels to Germany on Wednesday in his first state visit abroad since becoming British monarch, as part of efforts to turn the page on ... World News
Germany condemns Russia deploying tactical nuclear weapons in BelarusGermany on Sunday condemned a decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, bringing the arms closer to ... World News