German unions ver.di and EVG announce 24-hour Industrial action

March 26, 2023

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) expressed solidarity with German trade unions ver.di and EVG as they announced a 24-hour strike on March 27. The industrial action will involve over 2.5 million public sector workers in the public sector, railways, buses and airports.

The 24-hour action at the airports will see ground handling workers and security staff walk out for 24 hours due to insufficient offers on the two previous sessions of collective bargaining. Offers made during the last two rounds of negotiations were incredibly inadequate, according to Frank Werneke, Chairman of the United Services Union (ver.di) when you compare these standards to the growing energy and cost of living crisis.

“During the Corona pandemic and since then, our colleagues have literally kept the public infrastructure running every day under difficult conditions – and are often poorly paid for it. High energy prices and rising food prices are, therefore particularly painful for transport workers. The offers made by the employers so far do not improve the situation, they intensify the conflict. It is therefore necessary to fight together for significantly higher wages.”

For this reason, the members of both ver.di and EVG will hold a 24-hour strike on March 27 starting at midnight. This is the first time workers in public and private passenger and freight transport, as well as in public infrastructure, will go on strike together to send a clear message to employers and set the scene for later negotiations.

Christine Behle, Deputy Chairperson of the United Services Union (ver.di), states, “With their offer from the second round, the employers have intensified the collective bargaining conflict. Workers rightly expect not only that the real wage loss of the past two years will be compensated, but also that no further loss will be added by a new collective agreement…the financial burden of high inflation is growing, so is the burden…jobs are increasingly going unfilled because of a lack of labour…In air transport, for example, there is still a shortage of around 20 per cent of employees compared to 2019, and even then there were too few staff at peak times.

ITF asks the employers to commit to recommence negotiations with all the unions represented in good faith. We will monitor the situation closely and give updates as it develops further.

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