For Monday, March 27, the trade union ver.di has called for a one-day strike at several German airports – this will stop flight operations at Lufthansa.

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Stratement from the Trade Union

Collective bargaining for around 2.5 million public sector employees at federal and local level will enter the third round on March 27, 2023. Since the offer from the employers from the second round of negotiations on 22/23. February was completely inadequate, the  United Services Union (ver.di) called for a strike in all federal states and areas affected by the negotiations. Around 400,000 workers have taken part in the strikes in recent weeks. For the third round of negotiations, ver.di is once again increasing the pressure on employers to submit a negotiable offer that meets the employees’ demands.

ver.di is therefore calling on March 27, the central strike day for the transport/infrastructure sector, for employees at the airports, in municipal public transport companies in seven federal states, in parts of the municipal ports, the motorway company and the water and shipping administration . The all-day strike usually begins on the night of March 26/27 at 00:00 and ends at 24:00. The strikes at the airports affect negotiations for federal and local public sector employees on the one hand, local negotiations for ground handling employees and nationwide negotiations for aviation security employees on the other. Collective bargaining is currently being conducted for all three employee groups. There is a strike in local public transport in the federal states, which have a connection to the TVöD (Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony) and in Bavaria, where the local transport collective agreement is currently being negotiated. There will be severe delays throughout Germany and even the transport services in all the areas mentioned will come to a standstill.

The first round of collective bargaining, which the railway and transport union (EVG) is currently conducting with around 50 companies in the railway and transport sector, ended without any significant results. Instead of presenting negotiable offers right from the start, as requested, counter-demands were made again and again, which would lead to further burdens on the employees. Among other things, it was demanded that social achievements such as more vacation time be dispensed with in order to increase productivity. The employees who, in solidarity, waived reasonable wage increases during the pandemic, have no understanding for such behavior that disparages their performance. Offers associated with significant wage increases are expected.  

The EVG is therefore calling on the employees of all railway and transport companies in which negotiations are currently taking place to go on strike on March 27, 2023. In addition to Deutsche Bahn and its bus companies, Transdev, AKN, Erfurter Bahn, Osthannoversche Eisenbahnen, erixx, vlexx, eurobahn and Die Länderbahn and others are also affected. The warning strike begins on the night of March 26-27, 2023 at midnight. Depending on the shift, other workers will join, so the effects of the warning strike will last throughout the day.

ver.di and EVG explain the respective negotiations and strikes: 

Frank Werneke, Chairman of the United Services Union (ver.di):

“Together we can do more” – this was the motto under which ver.di started the current collective bargaining round last year. And we will now continue to fill this motto with life together with our colleagues from the EVG in the ongoing collective bargaining rounds. ver.di and EVG are the mobility unions in Germany. Our colleagues have kept the public infrastructure running under difficult conditions in the truest sense of the word during the corona pandemic and every day since – and are often poorly paid for it. High energy prices and rising food prices are therefore particularly painful for employees in the transport sector. The offers made by employers so far do not improve the situation, they exacerbate the conflict. It is therefore necessary to fight together for significantly higher wages. For this reason, employees in public and private passenger and freight transport as well as in public infrastructure will for the first time jointly lay down work in the ongoing collective bargaining rounds in the public sector at federal and local level and at the companies of Deutsche Bahn AG on March 27th, thus sending a clear signal to the Employers say: “Together we can do more!””

Christine Behle, stellvertretende Vorsitzende der Vereinten Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft (ver.di):

“With their offer from the second round, the employers have exacerbated the collective bargaining conflict. The employees rightly expect that the real wage loss of the past two years will not only be compensated for, but also that no further wages will be added through a new collective bargaining agreement. A reference to state benefits is not sufficient here. Because at the same time as the financial burdens caused by high inflation, the burden is also growing. In the transport sector in particular, more and more vacancies remain unfilled because there is a shortage of workers. In competition with other sectors, the transport sector is increasingly left behind. In air traffic, around 20 percent of the workforce is still missing compared to 2019, and even then there were too few staff at peak times. The situation in public transport is also devastating. Due to the austerity measures of the public sector in the last decade, around 20 percent of the employees in public transport have been cut, while at the same time the volume of traffic has increased steadily. As a result, around 110,000 employees will be missing by 2030. Many connections are already failing due to the existing staff shortage. The picture is identical in the waterway and shipping administration, just like in the case of the Autobahn GmbH des Bundes. Positions remain vacant for up to a year or cannot be filled at all. This has consequences for the infrastructure and thus for the economy in Germany. This situation will only change if jobs become more attractive. And that includes, above all, significantly better pay – in the entire public service. Federal and local employers now have the opportunity to make a corresponding offer in the third round. The employees will make that very clear again on March 27.”

Martin Burkert, Chairman of the Railway and Transport Union (EVG):

“The railway companies, like the bus companies of Deutsche Bahn, are running away from their employees. One reason for this is the poor pay. Bus and train connections are already being canceled again and again because positions are vacant or colleagues have become ill due to the high workload. Without sufficient staff, however, the turnaround in traffic will not succeed. Because rail loses its attractiveness for many rail passengers, and numerous commuters will have to prepare for further cancellations. With their refusal to pay decent wages, employers are endangering the future of ecological modes of transport. In order to prevent this, jobs in bus and train must also become financially more attractive again. That’s what we’re fighting for in this collective bargaining round.”

Cosima Ingenschay, Deputy Chairwoman of the Railway and Transport Union (EVG):

“The conclusion that we have to draw after the first round of negotiations is devastating. Instead of signaling that they are interested in an agreement, the employers provoke by doing nothing or making counter-demands. Just as if they wanted to force a strike. A 27-month term or a ridiculous two-times 100-euro wage increase, the reduction of additional vacation time to increase productivity or one-off payments that we didn’t demand are bogus offers that we reject. Added to this is the continued unwillingness of Deutsche Bahn to pay hourly wages that correspond to the minimum wage right from the start. Our colleagues are angry at such behavior by employers, which is perceived as simply ignorant. Instead of making serious efforts to graduate quickly, adheres to traditional tariff folklore in order to be able to maintain outdated rituals. In view of the difficult situation, this is not expedient. Now the employees are venting their anger and showing with the warning strike that they expect negotiable offers. It’s up to the employers to de-escalate and find the mode of negotiation in the second round of negotiations. That would certainly also be in the interests of the passengers.”

Demands from ver.di and EVG in the ongoing wage negotiations:

In the current collective bargaining round, ver.di is demanding 10.5 percent more salary for federal and local employees, but at least 500 euros more per month for a period of twelve months. The collective bargaining result is to be transferred to civil servants, judges, soldiers and pension recipients at the same time and with the same effect. The negotiations will continue in the third round from March 27th to 29th, 2023 in Potsdam.

The EVG calls for a wage increase of 650 euros for everyone as a social component, alternatively 12 percent more, over a period of twelve months. Before that, the hourly wage in the lowest wage groups is to be raised to the statutory minimum wage of twelve euros – without any offsetting or subsidies. It is also important to eliminate injustices in payment, for example when regionally different wages are paid for the same work. 

The second round of negotiations with around 50 companies in the railway and transport sector will continue after Easter. The employers have until then time to prepare negotiable offers.


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