Collective bargaining conflict: Warning strikes escalate - Verdi paralyzes local transport

Bus and train users have to be prepared for significant restrictions due to new Verdi warning strikes this Friday.

Collective bargaining conflict: Warning strikes escalate - Verdi paralyzes local transport

Bus and train users have to be prepared for significant restrictions due to new Verdi warning strikes this Friday.

The union wants to paralyze public transport in six federal states and some cities for 24 hours almost everywhere. The action is to take place together with the climate activists from Fridays for Future, who are calling for a global climate strike on Friday. Verdi wants to increase the pressure in the collective bargaining for the public sector in the municipalities and the federal government, as Vice President Christine Behle announced in Berlin.

Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Saxony, Lower Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate are particularly affected by the warning strikes. Here local transport is in the hands of the municipality, and the collective agreement for the public service in local transport applies. The results of the negotiations for the federal and local governments would be adopted for this contract, explained Behle.

Behle said that local transport workers in Munich, where another collective agreement had been terminated, were also involved in the warning strike. Subways and trams should no longer be running in Bavaria's state capital on Thursday, half of them will be buses. According to the Verdi deputy boss, Berlin is not affected by the deficits this time.

Climate protection demos in 200 cities

Behle and Fridays for Future spokeswoman Lou Töllner drew a dramatic situation in many places in local transport. Permanent work at the load limit, more and more passengers, a strict austerity course in public budgets and deficiencies in the infrastructure are diametrically opposed to the goal of the traffic turnaround. "Many more people are needed for this who are not there at all today," said Behle. "The situation at the moment is more than precarious."

From the point of view of trade unionists and climate activists, joint action is therefore logical. "In Germany alone, we are taking to the streets in over 200 cities," announced Töllner. The largest rallies are expected in Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne, in Berlin Fridays for Future expects a five-digit number of participants. "We will no longer allow climate protection and social justice to be played off against each other." Behle said: "A traffic turnaround will not be possible without investing in employees as well."

Verdi and Fridays for Future had already worked together a few years ago as part of collective bargaining disputes in public transport.

Allegations against Wissing

Töllner campaigned for support from the population. "Everyone benefits from calm, safe and quiet inner cities without car traffic." Public transport is available to everyone - and there is a social will to use buses and trains more widely. This became clear last summer with the then 9-euro ticket.

In view of the floods, snowstorms and heat waves worldwide, it is frustrating that compliance with the climate targets in Germany still has to be demanded, said Töllner. "Emissions in the transport sector continue to rise and have been virtually unchecked since 1990." Nevertheless, Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) does not present any concepts for a rapid reduction in CO2 emissions.

Strikes in airports and daycare centers

For weeks, many people in Germany have felt the deficits. In North Rhine-Westphalia, among other things, local transport, daycare centers, garbage disposal and street cleaning were affected on Tuesday. Employees also went on strike in Baden-Württemberg, Lower Saxony and Saarbrücken.

At the beginning of the week, walkouts by municipal employees also largely paralyzed Düsseldorf and Cologne/Bonn airports. Hundreds of flights were cancelled. Cologne/Bonn Airport came to an almost complete standstill. This Wednesday, junior staff from the federal and local governments want to reiterate their demands on employers with a nationwide youth strike day. Verdi boss Frank Werneke is expected at a rally in Gelsenkirchen.

Tough tariff dispute

The negotiations for the approximately 2.5 million federal and local employees had been tough since they started in January. Verdi and dbb are demanding 10.5 percent more income, but at least 500 euros more per month. There had been no rapprochement in the second round of negotiations last week. An offer from the employer includes, among other things, a pay increase of five percent in two steps and one-off payments totaling 2,500 euros. Behle said: "This is a slap in the face to the employees."

Increasing outstanding amounts are expected until the third round of negotiations at the end of March. At what will probably be a decisive meeting of the top representatives of trade unions, municipalities and the federal government in Potsdam, a breakthrough is just as possible as failure or the path to arbitration.

In other sectors, too, trade unionists are currently substantiating their demands with strikes. Warning strikes in the Deutsche Bahn collective bargaining dispute are more likely after an unsuccessful first round.

Verdi on the collective bargaining round of the civil servants' association dbb on the collective bargaining round on the press folder of the BMI VKA on the collective bargaining round on the climate strike