Deputy Verdi Chairwoman Christine Behle has rejected criticism of the union’s joint action with the Fridays for Future (FFF) climate movement. “I think this criticism in particular is a huge mistake,” said Behle on Friday morning on the sidelines of a strike rally in Leipzig.

Verdi had called for warning strikes in local transport in several federal states on Friday – parallel to the global climate strike by Fridays for Future. The general manager of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA), Steffen Kampeter, had criticized this as a “dangerous crossing of borders”.

The climate activists from Fridays for Future are committed to a traffic turnaround and better financing of local public transport, said Behle. From their point of view, the transport companies should actually stand next to the climate activists. With the warning strikes, Verdi wants to increase the pressure in collective bargaining for the local and federal public sector.

Kampeter had told the German Press Agency: “Strikes are allowed to reach collective agreements that regulate working conditions.” Demonstrations could be aimed at very different goals. “But if you mix labor disputes and general political goals, you quickly end up on a playing field beyond our collective bargaining autonomy.” Political or even quasi-political strikes are simply illegal in Germany.