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“The Federal government and local authorities have categorically rejected a socially balanced collective agreement,” the Verdi leader Werneke revealed.
On Monday, Germany's largest transport unions, the Berlin-based United Services Trade Union (Verdi) and the Railway & Transport Union (EVG), began a 24-hour strike while negotiations for a wage increase are underway.
Shortly after midnight, train, bus, and airplane services were completely paralyzed at the national level. German workers are demanding wage increases of over 10 percent in order to recover the purchasing power lost in recent years.
According to EVG, over 30,000 workers from some 350 towns joined the ongoing strike, which has managed to paralyze the population's mass transport.
“Until now, the Federal government and local authorities have categorically rejected a socially balanced collective agreement,” the Verdi leader Frank Werneke revealed.
“That is why we now take the initiative. It is better to send a strong signal now than to have weeks of labor disputes with the corresponding consequences,” he added.
“Despite many workers' difficult financial situation, we are on strike because we were not offered anything that we could seriously negotiate on,” the EVG Collective Bargaining Director Kristian Loroch said.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser called for responsibility from employers and unions to reach "good solutions" before the start of the third round of talks for a collective agreement involving 2.5 million public service employees.