Healthcare: Ver.di calls for warning strikes

Status: 03/10/2023 3:56 p.m

In the collective bargaining dispute in the public sector, the trade union ver.di is also calling on health care workers to go on warning strikes. ver.di rejects a special sacrifice demanded by employers from employees in clinics and care for the elderly.

The trade union ver.di is planning warning strikes in the healthcare sector for the coming week. On March 14th and 15th, employees in hospitals, psychiatric clinics and care facilities as well as in the emergency services nationwide are to stop working.

Ver.di and the civil servants’ association dbb are demanding 10.5 percent more wages for the approximately 2.5 million employees in the public sector because of the high inflation – but at least 500 euros more a month. For junior staff there should be 200 euros more wages per month.

Special sacrifices demanded from employees

In February, in the second round of collective bargaining, employers submitted an offer that ver.di said would mean a significant loss of purchasing power for employees. The core of the offer was a pay increase of five percent in two steps – three percent on October 1st and another two percent on June 1st, 2024. In addition, there should be tax- and duty-free one-off payments of 2500 euros for all employees.

The employers also demanded special sacrifices from employees in clinics and geriatric care: under certain conditions, they should forego part of their wages if the company is doing poorly.

“The employers’ request to allow wage cuts for employees in the healthcare sector via an additional collective agreement is a real provocation,” said ver.di chairman Frank Werneke. It leads to violent protests and resistance, especially in the health sector. “There will be no such special sacrifice with us.”

Third round of negotiations at the end of March

The employer’s offer was disrespectful, explained ver.di federal board member Sylvia Bühler. “The healthcare workers gave their all during the corona pandemic, they were exposed to extreme physical and mental stress.” A third round of negotiations is scheduled for March 27-29.

The collective bargaining in the public sector affects employees in a wide variety of professions – including educators, bus drivers, employees of public baths, firefighters, administrative employees, geriatric nurses, sewage treatment plant employees, foresters and doctors. The warning strikes in the conflict have been going on for weeks.

Employees of local public transport, daycare centers and social institutions had recently stopped working in many cities. The airports in Cologne/Bonn and Düsseldorf were also paralyzed because of the strikes.

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