BERLIN, March 5 Thousands of German public
sector workers in three western states walked out on strike on
Monday after demands for wage increases of 6.5 percent were
blocked in talks last week.
Buses and trains were at a standstill in Frankfurt in the
state of Hesse, causing travel disruption in Germany's financial
capital. In Saarland, hundreds of daycare centres and banks were
shut, while hospitals and nursing homes were also affected.
In Rhineland-Palatinate more than 2,000 public service
workers have gone on strike and this figure could increase to
5,000 during the day, the service sector union ver.di said.
Years of wage restraint helped Europe's largest economy
outpace its peers. After record levels of joblessness which
peaked in 2005, labour market reforms boosted competitiveness
and increased employment to the highest level in German history.
Strikers are demanding a wage rise of 6.5 percent, or at
least 200 euros more pay per month, for around two million
workers, ver.di said.
Employers dismissed the demands as unrealistic in pay
negotiations last week, but did not produce an alternative
offer. The discussions are set to resume on March 12.