Skip to comments.Germany hit by wave of public sector strikes (HOLD MEIN BIER, THE CHAOS)
Posted on 12/17/2002 3:51:04 PM PST by MadIvan
Tens of thousands of airline passengers in Germany were left stranded by strikes by public sector employees, as Germany's largest trade union stepped up the pressure for a large pay increase ahead of new wage talks on Wednesday.
Lufthansa said approximately 25,000 passengers were affected by the short "warning strikes" mounted by airport staff belonging to the Verdi services trade union. Frankfurt and Munich airports were most severely affected.
More than 100,000 Verdi members across Germany were involved in the strike actions, which each lasted up to several hours. The strikes also briefly halted local transport and public services in many cities.
Verdi's action represented a hardening of the union's stance in the pay talks with the government and local authorities. The union is demanding a wage increase of more than 3 per cent, in line with agreements this year in the private sector.
The employers have yet to put forward an offer, and have warned that many local authorities cannot afford any wage increase because of to the poor state of public finances. Otto Schily, interior minister, warned Verdi against "going too far" with its strike action at airports.
The strikes came as the government and the conservative opposition finalised last-minute alterations to laws on labour market reforms, paving the way for their introduction from January 1 onwards.
The agreement on the reform measures - a lead item on the government's agenda for the next four years - will come as a relief to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, whose personal standing has suffered badly in recent weeks.
The alterations represent a blow to Germany's influential trade union movement, which has campaigned against some aspects of the liberalisation measures agreed yesterday.
The main compromise, due to be confirmed last night by government and opposition politicians in a special parliamentary liaison committee, focuses on the expansion of Germany's under-developed low wage sector.
Under opposition pressure, the government has agreed to expand opportunities for workers in so-called "mini-jobs" to earn low incomes on a legal basis, by raising the threshold at which employees have to pay tax social security contributions to 400 a month from the current 325.
Wolfgang Clement, economics and labour minister, said these changes would create some 320,000 new low wage jobs.
Senior trade union officials warned that this prediction was too optimistic, as many existing jobs would be broken up into a number of smaller mini-jobs to save employers money.
The government also made concessions to the opposition by loosening restrictions on employment in private households, but stood by earlier commitments to the trade unions on the introduction of forrmalised collective bargaining arrangements for staff of temporary employment agencies.
The measures, which originate in the Hartz commission labour market reform proposals presented in August, are expected to pass through parliament on Friday. Two other laws containing parts of the Hartz reforms are to be tabled in parliament next year.
Plus the sick time, paternity and maternity leave, and so on.
Oh yes, they're so oppressed. My heart bleeds for them. Can't you tell? /sarcasm ;)
Exactly. Then the companies might not have to shut down or move out of the country.
This is all going to come down on Schroeder's head.
Yes it got to the point that the dead were left unburied and garbage uncollected. It was madness. Germany is not quite at that level yet, but on its way.
Thanks for posting all these Ivan, it's interesting to watch an entire country lose its mind.
Now where are those dirty "unacceptably rich"...
They offered a free castle, to persons with wealth, if they would move to Germany.
OTOH,when I lived in Germany 20 years ago mol, the average villagers were meticulous about cleanliness for their homes and property.They swept the sidewalks and even the streets in front of their homes, and locals even raked their surrounding "forests".
I haven't been back since then, and that was long before the wall came down.I see a taste of things to come in this country, but since I live in a "right to work" state,Florida, possibly we will have less problems overall than "liberal" union states.
But I still refuse to buy anything from Germany untill they prove their status as a true ally.I miss the beer.....
Seems to me that if a country is going to apologize for anything, Hitler would be a really good candidate.
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