BERLIN, March 23 (Reuters) – Two German labour unions representing transport workers called for mass strikes next Monday that are expected to cause widespread disruption on railways and at airports, the latest transportation chaos in Germany prompted by wage disputes.
The strikes, scheduled to start just after midnight and affect services throughout Monday, will be the latest in months of strikes and protests that have hit major European economies as higher food and energy prices knocked incomes and living standard.
The Verdi union is negotiating on behalf of around 2.5 million employees in the public sector, including in public transport and at airports. Railway and transport union EVG negotiates for around 230,000 employees at Deutsche Bahn and bus companies.
Verdi is demanding a 10.5% wage increase, with pay rising by at least 500 euros ($544) per month, while EVG is asking for a 12% raise or at least 650 euros more per month.
“We represent groups of workers who literally run this country and are paid far too badly to do so,” Verdi Chairman Frank Werneke said.
Verdi has called on around 120,000 employees in the transport and infrastructure sectors including airports, shipping and motorway companies to take part in industrial action.
Deutsche Bahn and other public employers are offering around 5% wage increase on average along with one-off payment of up to 2,500 euros.
“We don’t want any further escalation. We want a negotiable offer,” said Martin Burkert, the chairman of EVG union, which represents 50 transport companies, including railway operator Deutsche Bahn.
EVG said further strikes around the Easter holiday in April could not be ruled out.
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