Workers at wind turbine manufacturer Vestas went on another five-day strike nationwide on Monday. He cannot yet give exact figures, but he assumes that the participation is somewhat higher than in the previous work stoppages, said the chief negotiator of IG Metall, Martin Bitter, of the German Press Agency.
According to the union, more than 300 service technicians have been taking part in the repeated work stoppages every day since the beginning of the month. That is more than half of the 570 employees currently working in this area, which the union is focusing on in its industrial action. Among other things, service technicians are involved in the replacement of large components and the commissioning of new systems in wind farms.
With strikes for collective bargaining
The union and the employees want to use the strikes to force the wind turbine manufacturer to negotiate wages. So far, Vestas only wants to discuss pay issues with the works council. In an online ballot at the end of October, 88 percent of IG Metall members voted in favor of an indefinite strike.
For the union, the dispute is a pilot conflict in the wind power industry. IG Metall has long complained that many suppliers to the wind industry, such as machine builders, are traditionally subject to the collective bargaining agreement for the metal and electrical industry. In the case of manufacturers and in the service sector, however, the wind industry has so far largely refused to comply with collective agreements.
"We very much regret that IG Metall initiated this strike against a wind turbine manufacturer in Germany in times of the global energy crisis and energy uncertainty," said a Vestas spokesman for dpa. The company is still convinced "that our approach of also regulating remuneration issues in trusting cooperation exclusively with the works council is the best way". So far, the losses caused by the strikes have been compensated relatively well, "mainly thanks to all employees who are not taking part in the IG Metall strike".
Sustainable working conditions
"We're increasing the pressure," said IG Metall negotiator Bitter. Topics such as regular wage increases, special payments or partial retirement should be part of sustainable working conditions. On Monday, Vestas employees gathered for rallies in Husum in Schleswig-Holstein and in Thalfang near Trier in Rhineland-Palatinate.
Demonstrations are planned for Tuesday in Waldbüttelbrunn near Würzburg in Bavaria, on Wednesday in Barleben near Magdeburg in Saxony-Anhalt and on Thursday in Hamburg in front of the Vestas German headquarters. The deputy SPD federal chairman Serpil Midyatli and the district head of IG Metall Coast, Daniel Friedrich, are expected to speak there. According to earlier information, 1,700 people work at Vestas Germany, 700 as fitters.