By Peoples Dispatch
March 28, 2023
For over a year, trade unions in Germany have been demanding a fair increase in wages to combat inflation and compensate for the continuous fall in real wages
In Germany, municipal and federal level public service workers in the transport sector joined a massive strike action on Monday, March 27, with demonstrations held in several cities protesting the fall in real wages and demanding a fair increase in wages to combat inflation.
The call for the strike was given by trade union ver.di and the Railway and Transport Union (EVG). It was timed to coincide with the third round of negotiations between municipal and federal employers and unions, taking place in Potsdam on the same day. Trade unionists also marched to the hotel hosting the wage negotiations.
Ver.di has reiterated its demand for a 10.5% wage increase of at least 500 Euros (USD 539.25) for 2.5 million public sector workers, while EVG has called for an increase of 650 Euros (USD 703.63) per month. The second round of talks between EVG and railway and transport companies is also scheduled for this week.
On Monday, ver.di stated that “the wage offer proposed by the employers has clearly shown that they did not understand the situation of the employees. You’ve worked hard to keep public infrastructure going during recent years of crisis—and as a reward, you’re supposed to accept losses in real wages?!—That’s not possible, especially since the price increases and the many employees in the lower income groups are crushing the minimum wage.”
Junge Welt reported that strikes by transport workers affected local public transport in seven federal States, as well as airports, working areas of Autobahn GmbH, parts of municipal ports, the water and shipping administration, and long distance rail traffic.
It was also reported that the industrial action by workers is supported by 55% of the population. Workers have been protesting for over a year, demanding a rise in their wages to combat the cost of living crisis. However, unions allege that the federal government led by Chancellor Olaf Scolz has been prioritizing the war efforts in Ukraine rather than seeing to the workers’ demands.
German left party Die Linke stated that “according to a recent survey, the majority of Germans understand the labor struggle of ver.di & EVG. No surprise, because inflation and falling real wages have long arrived at the center of society. We won’t let ourselves be divided.”