There is a threat of a warning strike by bus drivers again. According to Verdi, passengers in Hesse must expect restrictions on Wednesday. You can find all important information about the warning strikes here.

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

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

On Friday, Verdi agreed to arbitration in negotiations with the employers, but at the same time reserved the right to further strikes until the arbitration began. According to the agreement, an arbitration commission with equal representation must be established by next Friday (May 31st). Each side may appoint an independent arbitrator.

In the collective bargaining dispute, Verdi is demanding that salaries for around 6,000 employees increase by 8.5 percent in two stages. There should also 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 the municipal transport companies should improve. The majority of the voting Verdi members among the employees voted in favor of accepting the collective agreement result, which was preceded by a recommendation for arbitration, as the union announced on Thursday. The Verdi NRW collective bargaining committee and the municipal employers’ association KAV NW had already approved the arbitration proposal almost two weeks ago

Essentially, the agreement provides for four days of relief, staggered until the end of 2026, for large sections of employees. There will be two additional days off for everyone starting this year, followed by another day off for the majority of employees in 2025 and 2026. According to the information, the key points also provide for a gradual increase in the annual special payment to 100 percent as well as an increase in the assessment basis for time bonuses. 

Twice in the collective bargaining round via a so-called collective agreement, Verdi NRW largely paralyzed local public transport in the most populous federal state with warning strikes lasting one or two days each. Most recently, the union resorted to “pinprick strike measures” and called for strikes at certain depots in North Rhine-Westphalia cities. Because Verdi NRW had agreed to arbitration proceedings, public transport users had recently not faced any further strikes.

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 health protection agreement 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 for the more than 34,000 teachers and other school employees could be achieved and at the same time a higher quality of teaching could be achieved, argues the GEW. 

The Berlin Senate rejects such discussions and refers to the collective bargaining community of the states (TdL). Without their consent, Berlin cannot begin collective bargaining about 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 changing the school law. 

Tuesday, May 21st, 9:34 a.m.: The food-pleasure-restaurants union (NGG) has called for a warning strike on Tuesday morning in the collective bargaining dispute at the frozen food manufacturer Frosta in Bremerhaven. In the early shift, employees should stop work from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and emphasize their demands, the NGG said. 

The union is demanding 12 percent more wages for the approximately 700 employees over a term of the collective agreement of twelve months, as well as permanent employment of trainees in the profession they have learned 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, as 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 union criticized the employers’ side for acting as if the second year of high inflation and the associated increased financial worries among employees had not happened. For this year, inflation from 2023 must also be compensated for and something added to the collective bargaining agreement. The next hearing date is scheduled for May 27th.

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 another strike by bus drivers, numerous local transport connections in Hesse were canceled on Friday. According to information from the two transport associations NVV and RMV, bus routes were canceled in the Kassel district, the Schwalm-Eder district, Hanau, Gießen and Rüsselsheim, among others. 

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

According to Verdi strike leader Jochen Koppel, 98 percent of the workforce in the private bus companies in Hesse took part in the warning strikes. The trade unionist announced that the industrial action would be interrupted over Pentecost and then continued with the same intensity on Tuesday and Wednesday. There was a first warning strike on April 24th. Negotiations will take place again next Friday (May 24th). 

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

Friday, May 17th, 11:50 a.m.: The Bauen Agrar Umwelt (IG BAU) industrial union wants to expand its warning strikes in the main construction industry next week. The labor dispute would be extended to the transport infrastructure, the union announced on Friday in Frankfurt after five days of strike. To this end, construction sites on roads, railways and bridges should be shut down at certain points throughout Germany.

The construction workers are highly motivated to fight for their wage increase, said IG BAU boss Robert Feiger. “We will not let up until the construction companies submit an offer that is above the arbitrator’s award.” In the first week, around 12,500 employees took part in the strikes. 

The background is the collective bargaining agreement in the construction industry with 930,000 employees that collapsed at the beginning of May. After three unsuccessful rounds of negotiations, the arbitrator Rainer Schlegel proposed two-stage wage increases on April 19th. Initially, incomes were to increase by a flat rate of 250 euros in May and eleven months later by another 4.15 percent in the west and 4.95 percent in the east. While IG BAU accepted the compromise proposal, the employers’ associations rejected it at the beginning of May. IG BAU is now on strike for its original demand for 500 euros more per month.

5:31 p.m.: Customers have to expect cancellations on numerous bus routes in Hesse this Friday. The Verdi union has once again called on the drivers of private bus companies to go on an all-day warning strike, which will also last on the Tuesday and Wednesday after Pentecost. 

Almost all bus routes in Frankfurt as well as connections in many medium-sized cities and rural areas are affected. In the large cities of Kassel, Darmstadt and Wiesbaden, however, normal bus traffic can be expected because different collective agreements apply to the drivers there. 

In the wage dispute, the union is demanding that salaries be increased in two stages by 8.5 percent each. 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 offered 9.3 percent more money in three stages.

Thursday, May 16th, 12:41 p.m.: Hundreds of Telekom employees gathered in front of the MHP Arena in Stuttgart for a warning strike following a call from the Verdi union. State labor campaign leader Christian Filusch said on Thursday that around 300 employees were on site for the rally in the late morning. This is intended to maintain pressure in the ongoing collective bargaining. 

In 2019, Telekom received comprehensive media rights for the tournament from the European football association UEFA. All 51 European Championship games will be shown on the Telekom streaming service MagentaTV, five of them exclusively. In order for things to run smoothly, some of the technology still needs to be expanded before the start on June 14th. “The Telekom employees are highly motivated to provide technical support for the football event,” said Filusch. “But first there has to be a proper collective bargaining agreement in place.”

The call for a strike was aimed at all areas of Telekom from the Stuttgart, Leinfelden-Echterdingen and Göppingen regions, as it was said. The consequences for customers have sometimes been longer waiting times on the service hotline or postponed appointments for new connections. According to information, around 4,500 employees work for Telekom in Baden-Württemberg. There were also calls for warning strikes in the other nine cities that are hosting games at the European Championship. 

After the employer presented an improved offer in the fourth round of collective bargaining on Tuesday evening, the round was extended until Friday. In this year’s round of collective bargaining, Verdi is demanding, among other things, a 12 percent pay increase for the approximately 70,000 collective bargaining employees nationwide.

Tuesday, May 14th, 4:51 p.m.: In the Bavarian hospitality industry, the signs are already pointing to a storm after the first round of collective bargaining. The NGG union broke off the talks on Monday after a short time, as negotiator Mustafa Öz said. Now we are planning actions up to and including a warning strike. According to Öz, these could also hit the opening day of the European Football Championship in mid-June if there are no new discussions by then. 

On Monday, the two sides blamed each other for the cancellation. Öz criticized the fact that, despite a long lead time, the Dehoga had come to the table without an offer and had only demanded a longer term. The Dehoga, on the other hand, said that it had rejected the NGG’s demand for a 14.5 percent wage increase as non-negotiable in view of the difficult circumstances with the aftermath of the corona pandemic and the end of the temporary VAT reduction.

Dehoga emphasized that he would be ready to continue discussions as soon as there was a negotiable demand. Öz dismissed this as blackmail. 

It was initially unclear how many employees were being negotiated for. In the hospitality industry, with its many, sometimes very small, companies, both the collective bargaining agreement on the employer side and the level of union organization are rather low.

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