Each side fought hard during the hours leading to the strike. Union leaders warned about the need for significant pay increases for thousands of workers. Management called the demands and resulting action “completely unreasonable”.
These strikes are the latest in a series of industrial actions that have been taking place over months to affect major European economies. They are caused by higher food and energy prices, which has had a negative impact on living standards.
Rising inflation has particularly affected Germany, which is heavily dependent on Russia for its gas supplies prior to the conflict in Ukraine. Inflation rates in the Euro-area have exceeded the average over the past few months.
German consumer prices increased faster in February than expected, rising 9.3% compared with one year ago. This shows that cost pressures have not slowed down, as the European Central Bank attempted to manage them with a series of interest-rate increases.
Millions of Americans have had to adapt after years of relatively stable inflation. Now, butter and rent are more expensive.
Frank Werneke, head of the union’s labor union, stated that it was vital for thousands of workers to be paid a significant pay rise. Bild am Sonntag
France also witnessed a series of strikes and protests that began in January. This was in response to the government’s attempt to raise the state pension age from 64 years old by two years.
However, officials in Germany have made it clear they don’t want to be paid.
The Verdi union represents approximately 2.5 million employees in the public sector, including airport staff and public transport workers. EVG, the railway- and transport union, represents around 230,000 employees of Deutsche Bahn (DBN.UL) and bus companies.
Verdi is asking for a 10.5% wage increase, which would mean that monthly pay increases of no more than EUR500. EVG on the other hand is asking for a minimum of 12% increase or EUR650 per month.
Deutsche Bahn stated on Sunday, 26 March, that the strike was “completely exaggerated and groundless” and that it was unnecessary.
Employers warn of rising wages for transport workers, which could lead to higher fares or higher taxes.
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