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Wage negotiations in Germany for public sector fail

Negotiations over pay raises of public sector employees in Germany ended Thursday in a stalemate.

The negotiations stretched unsuccessfully for over three days.

“In the end, we had to conclude that the differences could not be bridged,” said Frank Werneke, head of the Verdi union, in Potsdam on Thursday morning.

The head of the German civil servants’ association DBB, Ulrich Silberbach, also made a similar statement on behalf of his union.

Shortly afterwards, Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser announced: “Our firm intention as employers was: we wanted to reach a good collective agreement for the more than 2.5 million employees of the federal and local governments. We went a long way toward accommodating the unions. But the unions were not ready for an agreement.”

Now there will be mediation, the interior minister said.

In mediation, independent conciliators appointed in advance make a proposal for a solution within set deadlines. The collective bargaining parties then renegotiate this proposal.

During the period of mediation, no strikes were allowed.

Faeser and Karin Welge, the chief negotiator for the municipalities, regretted that the unions had declared failure.

The employers had offered 8% more income and a minimum of €300 euros ($325), as well as a one-time payment of €3,000 ($3,251).

Verdi and DBB are demanding 10.5% more income, but at least €500 ($541) more per month. This minimum amount is of particular importance to the unions, as it is intended to compensate employees with lower incomes for high inflation.

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