OAN Geraldyn Berry
UPDATED 5:46 PM – Monday, March 27, 2023
Airports, bus and train terminals across Germany were shut down on Monday. This caused chaos for millions of travelers during one of Europe’s greatest walkouts in decades as increasing inflation fuels wage demands.
“Employees are fed up with being fobbed off with warm words while work conditions get ever worse and there are many vacant posts,” Verdi Chief Frank Werneke said.
The Verdi union and the railway and transport union EVG had launched 24-hour “warning” strikes to protest the increasing food and energy prices that are damaging living standards.
Verdi represents around 2.5 million public sector employees, including those in public transportation and airports, whereas EVG represents approximately 230,000 employees at Deutsche Bahn and bus firms.
It is reported that three days of wage talks were taking place to find a compromise in order to prevent further strikes from happening.
Employers have proposed 5% extra salaries over 27 months and a one-time payment of 2,500 euros ($2,700) proposals that unions, which are calling for a double-digit increase, have deemed unacceptable in light of February inflation of 9.3%.
The union is reportedly seeking a 10.5% wage hike, or at least 500 euros per month, while EVG is seeking a 12% raise, or at least 650 euros per month.
With inflation rates recently above the average for the euro area, Germany, which was reliant on Russia for gas prior to the conflict in Ukraine, has been particularly hit hard.
The Airports Association ADV claimed that 380,000 air passengers were affected by flight cancellations, including at two of Germany’s busiest airports, Munich and Frankfurt, with stranded passengers sleeping on benches.
The walkout is considered the biggest in Germany. Collective wage bargaining had been occurring since 1992.
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