The German Association of Towns and Municipalities has appealed to the trade unions to keep a sense of proportion in the collective bargaining dispute in the public sector. Shortly before the next round of negotiations, General Manager Gerd Landsberg told the German Press Agency: “If, for example, almost all air traffic in Germany is paralyzed, that goes far beyond the normal signals of a warning strike.”

Against the background of the ongoing war in Ukraine, inflation and the energy crisis, Germany faces enormous challenges, explained Landsberg. “A standstill in public life due to strike action would further aggravate the situation. We very much hope that a compromise can be reached soon, which, however, must then also take into account the sometimes dramatic financial situation of the municipalities.”

Workers demand 10.5 percent

The second round of negotiations in the collective bargaining dispute for around 2.5 million public sector employees is planned for Wednesday and Thursday in Potsdam. The Verdi services union and the civil servants’ association are calling for an increase in income of 10.5 percent, but at least 500 euros more. Municipal employers reject this as economically unmanageable.

The head of the civil servants’ association dbb, Ulrich Silberbach, had threatened in the “Bild am Sonntag” that the warning strikes would be extended if employers continued to stonewall. He emphasized that the tight financial situation in the local authorities is the fault of the politicians at federal level and above all in the states, not the employees of the public sector. Verdi boss Frank Werneke told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper”: “The next strikes will have a different dimension.” If the employers come up with a really good offer next week, an agreement can be reached quickly.