February 22, 2018 / 7:56 AM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 2-German union says more Deutsche Post strikes likely Friday

(Recasts with Friday strike threat)

BERLIN, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Trade union Verdi said more walkouts at postal group Deutsche Post were likely after about 1,500 employees staged strikes in several German federal states in a pay dispute on Thursday.

Germany’s second-biggest union called on postal delivery staff in Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein and Saarland to stage so-called “warning strikes” on Thursday.

Staff rallies took place in cities across those states on Thursday morning.

“Targeted action can be expected on Friday too,” Verdi said in a statement.

The union is demanding a 6 percent wage increase or more time off for around 130,000 workers at Deutsche Post. The next round of talks is scheduled for Feb. 26 and 27.

“Deutsche Post is swimming in money but they expect employees to go empty-handed. Staff and Verdi will not accept that,” Anton Hirtreiter of Verdi in Bavaria said in a statement.

Strong economic growth and low unemployment in Germany is bolstering unions in their wage demands, with industrial union IG Metall having agreed a 4.3 percent raise and the right to shorter working hours.

Deutsche Post DHL Group is targeting earnings before interest and tax of around 3.75 billion euros ($4.6 billion) for 2017, which would be a 7 percent increase from last year’s 3.49 billion.

Verdi held a series of strikes at Deutsche Post in 2015 in a dispute over pay and plans for a new parcel division. Those walkouts, one of which lasted four weeks, cost the firm 100 million euros at the time. ($1 = 0.8148 euros) (Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Matthias Inverardi, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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