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German postal workers strike, deliveries delayed

  • January 21, 2023

Thousands of postal workers went on strike on Friday around Germany, amid stalling negotiations for pay increases.

Deutsche Post warned on Friday there would be “a delay of a few days” for the delivery of some letters and packages. It said that a total of 2.3 million packages and 13 million letters were affected.

It also said that there were regional fluctuations in terms of participation, and therefore in the level of disruption.

How many postal workers went on strike?

The protests began overnight heading into the early hours of Friday morning  after the strike was announced late on Thursday. 

The Deutsche Post DHL Group said 16,700 postal workers, about a third of the company’s total, had taken part. That figure was slightly higher than the 15,000 that major trade union Verdi had said it hoped would participate. 

“The strikes are a clear sign from our members towards [their] employer,” Verdi lead negotiator Andrea Kocsis said.

Verdi, meanwhile, on Friday called on its members to extend the strike into Saturday nationwide. 

Deutsche Post employees in high visibility jackets stand around a brazier in the early hours of the morning with the Verdi trade union logo carved into the metal barrel.
With postal workers famously among the earlier risers in society, the strike began long before the dawnImage: Martin Dziadek/IMAGO

What is behind the postal strikes?

The union and the Bonn-based company are deadlocked in pay negotiations, with Verdi calling for a 15% increase for its members, to stand for a period of 12 months.

Much of this Verdi says is necessary to compensate for inflation and accused the company of unfairness amid record 2022 profits. After the third quarter of 2022, the company raised its estimate for full-year earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to €8.4 billion (roughly $9 billion).

Deutsche Post has called the 15% figure unrealistic and is also looking to negotiate a longer running time for a potential agreement.

A third round of negotiations is scheduled for February 8 and 9 at present. Deutsche Post had said it wanted to bring a new offer to the table then. 

With almost 1.9 million members working in an array of industries, Verdi is Germany’s second-largest trade union by membership.

msh/rt (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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