Retail workers in Berlin and Brandenburg begin four-day strike
Retail staff in some high street shops and supermarkets will begin a four-day-long strike on Friday, November 10, ver.di has announced. Most shops will be open to a usual schedule but stocks may be low.
Berlin and Brandenburg retail workers go on four-day-long strike
The action will be the third time that tens of thousands of retail workers in the two regions have gone on strike this autumn. This weekend, the action is in response to retail employers cancelling all scheduled negotiation meetings with ver.di.
Instead, the bosses are suggesting “top-level talks”, which ver.di says are an attempt to delay reaching a wage agreement, since collective bargaining agreements cannot be made in such meetings. “This is a scandalous move by the employers and a unique act in the history of collective bargaining,” board member Silke Zimmer said in a ver.di press release.
For the most part, shops will remain open on their usual schedule over the weekend. What the strike action is more likely to affect is stock supply, meaning you might go to the shops and find the fruit and vegetable section nearly empty.
What are the striking retail workers asking for?
Like with many strike actions over the past year, employees in the German retail sector are demanding a pay rise to reduce the burden of inflated living costs.
Ver.di has been negotiating this since the summer with little movement. Progress last week means that retail companies are now offering a 6 percent rise in pay after three months. In foreign trade and wholesale, the proposed increase is just 5,1 percent after no raise for four months. According to ver.di, the proposed pay increases for 2024 are even lower.
The Hans Böckler Stiftung estimates that retail workers in eastern Germany with 10 years of experience or more earn around 2.230 euros per month before tax.
Zimmer stressed that reaching a wage agreement that prevents further real wage losses was urgently needed and said that if the negotiations do not move forward, strike action is likely to affect the Christmas period.
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