The warning strike by the Verdi union largely paralyzed local transport in five Saxon cities on Friday. "The DVB vehicles are standing still," said Falk Loesch, spokesman for the Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe (DVB), on Friday morning. Accordingly, there were no trams in the state capital and four fifths of the bus traffic were canceled. Only a few buses operated by subcontractors are on the road, said Loesch.
The regular tram and bus services in Leipzig were also discontinued, as announced by the Leipzig Transport Authority (LVB). Verdi had also called for a all-day warning strike in local transport in Chemnitz, Zwickau and Plauen. There were also warning strikes in five other federal states. The union wants to put pressure on in the collective bargaining conflict for the public service of the municipalities and the federal government.
In the negotiations for the approximately 2.5 million employees, Verdi and the civil servants' association dbb are demanding 10.5 percent more income, but at least 500 euros more per month. There was no agreement in the second round of negotiations last week. The unions had rejected an offer from the employers as insufficient. This included, among other things, a pay increase of five percent in two steps and one-off payments totaling 2,500 euros.
Deputy Verdi chairwoman Christine Behle defended the wage demand on Friday. The transport companies are already lacking staff. "If we don't achieve a decent result, even more people will decide against working here," Behle said on the sidelines of a strike rally in a Leipzig tram station.
She does not see the danger that substantial wage increases could ultimately lead to higher ticket prices. On the one hand, public transport is only partially financed by ticket sales anyway, and on the other hand, the 49-euro ticket will have a dampening effect, said Behle.
The trade unionist also rejected criticism of joint action with Fridays for Future. The warning strikes ran parallel to climate protests on Friday. "I think this criticism is a huge mistake," said Behle. Fridays for Future is committed to better public transport financing, the transport companies should actually stand by the side of the climate activists.
The general manager of the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA), Steffen Kampeter, had criticized the joint day of action as "a dangerous crossing of borders". Political or even quasi-political strikes are simply illegal in Germany.
In Saxony, Verdi is already planning further warning strikes. Work is to be stopped in municipal daycare centers on Wednesday. Warning strikes are also emerging next week in regional bus services in the Leipzig region.