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UPDATE 1-E.ON workers put off strike to Feb 10, to consider talks
February 2, 2013 / 3:46 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-E.ON workers put off strike to Feb 10, to consider talks

* Unions to decide Feb. 6 whether to resume talks

* Unions seek 6.5 pct pay rise, E.ON offered 1.7 pct rise (Adds detail, background)

FRANKFURT, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Trade union Verdi said workers at Germany’s top energy group E.ON have postponed a strike planned from Monday Feb. 4, after a meeting with management late on Friday.

Verdi, with mining union IG BCE, wants pay rises for 30,000 staff, for trainees to be taken on for at least 12 months after passing their courses, and for 250 permanent jobs to be awarded to successful trainees from 2015 onwards, among other demands.

The unions have argued that forecast-beating earnings and net profit for the nine months to September would allow E.ON to pay higher wages to its more than 73,000 staff.

They seek a 6.5 percent pay rise, while E.ON has offered 1.7 percent

On Feb. 6 the unions will decide whether they will resume negotiations with E.ON. Verdi said they had decided to postpone the strike until Feb. 10, 2300 GMT.

E.ON said in a statement a short-term agreement with the unions would be possible.

German utilities including E.ON, RWE and EnBW aim to control costs as they struggle with weak demand for electricity in Europe’s economic slowdown, high gas prices and the loss of some nuclear reactors after the government decided to speed up Germany’s exit from nuclear energy.

A growing supply of renewable power has cut into demand for their conventional fossil fuel generation and increased the volatility of wholesale power prices.

E.ON peer RWE still faces a possible strike after trade unions earlier this week ended negotiations, saying no progress was made regarding wage demands.

Unions at RWE are due to decide Tuesday whether or not to take industrial action.

The E.ON strike would have been the first in the company’s 12-year history. (Reporting by Harro ten Wolde, editing by William Hardy)

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