Arbitration has been agreed in Hesse’s private bus industry. Nevertheless, Verdi is cancelling many trips. In the construction industry, however, an agreement was reached for over 900,000 employees. You can find all the important information about the warning strikes here.

Wednesday, May 29, 11:42 a.m.: There is a collective bargaining solution for the approximately 930,000 employees in the German construction industry. In the third week of the warning strike, IG BAU and employers agreed on a joint proposal with a three-year term, as they jointly announced on Wednesday.

11.28 a.m.: Employers have reacted with incomprehension to the renewed warning strike announced by the Verdi union for private bus companies in Hesse. In view of the arbitration already agreed, they are wondering what the purpose of the work stoppage on Wednesday (May 29) is supposed to be, said Volker Tuchan, negotiator for the Hessian Association of Bus Companies (LHO), on Monday. After all, they have already agreed to resolve the conflict with the help of third parties. “We find it very regrettable that public transport passengers are being affected again.”

At the weekend, Verdi announced the fifth day of warning strikes in the wage dispute for Wednesday. Almost nationwide warning strikes are planned at private bus companies in the country, which will again have a major impact on public transport – including in Frankfurt, in smaller towns and in rural areas. “We want to emphasize our demands again before the arbitration,” said Verdi negotiator Jochen Koppel.

Monday, May 27, 2024, 7:13 a.m.: Passengers in Hesse must once again prepare for all-day restrictions on bus services next Wednesday (May 29). The Verdi union is planning almost nationwide warning strikes at private bus companies in the state for the day. “We want to emphasize our demands again before the arbitration,” said Verdi negotiator Jochen Koppel on Sunday when asked. The arbitration is scheduled to begin at the beginning of June, but an exact date has not yet been published.

The radio station FFH had previously reported on the renewed warning strike plans. The last time bus drivers from private companies in Hesse went on strike was at Pentecost. In many cities, almost all buses were cancelled. According to Koppel, the warning strikes next Wednesday are to begin with the early shift at 3:30 a.m. and last until the end of the late shift on Thursday night.

On Friday, Verdi agreed to mediation in negotiations with the employers’ side, but at the same time reserved the right to carry out further strikes until the mediation process begins. According to the agreement, an arbitration commission with equal representation must be established by next Friday (May 31). Each side can appoint an independent mediator.

In the wage dispute, Verdi is demanding that the salaries of around 6,000 employees be increased by 8.5 percent in two stages. In addition, there should be 3,000 euros in inflation compensation for each employee and paid breaks. The employers rejected the demands as unaffordable and offered 9.3 percent more money in three stages.

8:06 p.m.: The working conditions of the approximately 30,000 employees in municipal transport companies are to be improved. The majority of Verdi members among the employees who voted voted in a ballot to accept the collective agreement result, which was preceded by a recommendation for arbitration, as the union announced on Thursday. The collective bargaining commission of Verdi NRW and the municipal employers’ association KAV NW had already agreed to the arbitration proposal almost two weeks ago.

In essence, the agreement provides for four days of relief, staggered until the end of 2026, for a large part of the workforce. Two additional days off are to be available for everyone starting this year, with a further day off for the majority of employees in 2025 and 2026. The key points also provide for a gradual increase in the annual bonus to 100 percent and an increase in the assessment basis for overtime pay.

During the collective bargaining round on a so-called framework collective agreement, Verdi NRW twice largely paralyzed public transport in the most populous federal state with warning strikes lasting one or two days each time. Most recently, the union relied on “pinprick strike measures” and called for strikes at certain depots in NRW cities. Because Verdi NRW had agreed to an arbitration procedure, public transport users have not been faced with any further strikes recently.

Thursday, May 23, 2024, 6:57 a.m.: Due to a warning strike by the Education and Science Union (GEW), classes were cancelled at some Berlin schools on Wednesday. According to the GEW, more than 2,500 teachers, social workers and school psychologists took part in a demonstration in Berlin-Mitte. In addition, numerous decentralized actions took place in the districts.

Since 2021, the GEW has been demanding a collective agreement on health protection that regulates class sizes and other personnel support. Among other things, the union is calling for smaller school classes. In this way, healthier working conditions could be achieved for the more than 34,000 teachers and other school employees and at the same time a higher quality of teaching could be achieved, argues the GEW.

The Berlin Senate rejects such talks and refers to the collective bargaining association of the states (TdL). Without their approval, Berlin cannot start collective bargaining on class sizes. The GEW does not accept this argument and has repeatedly organized warning strikes since 2021 to achieve its goal. Smaller classes can also be implemented by amending the school law.

Tuesday, May 21, 9:34 a.m.: The Food, Beverages and Catering Union (NGG) has called for a warning strike on Tuesday morning in the wage dispute at the frozen food manufacturer Frosta in Bremerhaven. During the early shift, employees are to stop work from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and emphasize their demands, the NGG announced.

The union is demanding a 12 percent pay increase for the approximately 700 employees over a twelve-month collective agreement, as well as permanent employment for trainees in their trained profession and a travel allowance. The employers’ side wants a longer collective agreement and is offering 2.6 percent for this year and 1.9 percent for next year, the union announced on Monday.

Last year, the agreement was an attempt to get as close as possible to the 2022 inflation rate in order to avoid a loss in real wages, said NGG negotiator Iris Münkel: “We didn’t quite succeed, but we were on the right track. The fact that there is now only such a low offer on the table is a great disappointment for employees.” The company made good profits last year and paid out dividends in the millions.

The employers’ side is acting as if the second year of high inflation and the associated increased financial worries of employees had never happened, the union criticized. For this year, the collective agreement must also compensate for the inflation of 2023 and add something to it. The next negotiation date is set for May 27.

Frosta increased its sales and profits last year. Sales rose by 10.4 percent to 639 million euros in 2023 compared to the previous year. The surplus rose to 34.1 million euros (2022: 24.3 million euros).

2:59 p.m.: Due to renewed strikes by bus drivers, numerous local transport connections were cancelled in Hesse on Friday. According to information from the two transport associations NVV and RMV, bus routes were cancelled in the Kassel district, the Schwalm-Eder district, Hanau, Gießen and Rüsselsheim, among others.

In Frankfurt, too, hardly any buses were running, but in Hesse’s largest city, customers could still switch to the various trains relatively easily. In the major cities of Kassel, Darmstadt and Wiesbaden, however, bus traffic was largely running normally because other collective agreements apply to most drivers there.

According to Verdi strike leader Jochen Koppel, 98 percent of the workforce in Hesse’s private bus companies took part in the warning strikes. The industrial action will be interrupted over Pentecost and then continued on Tuesday and Wednesday with the same intensity, the union official announced. The first warning strike took place on April 24. Negotiations are scheduled to resume next Friday (May 24).

In the wage dispute, the union is demanding that the salaries of around 6,000 employees be increased by 8.5 percent in two stages. In addition, there should be inflation compensation of 3,000 euros for each employee and paid breaks. The employers have rejected the demands as unaffordable and have offered 9.3 percent more money in three stages.

You can read more information about the warning strikes on the next pages.