02.11.2021, Brandenburg, Potsdam: Frank Werneke, Verdi-Vorsitzender, äußert sich in einem Hotel vor Journalisten am Rande der Tarifverhandlungen für den öffentlichen Dienst der Länder. Verdi führt die Tarifverhandlungen gemeinsam mit anderen Gewerkschaften und dem Beamtenbund in einer Verhandlungsgemeinschaft. Die Verhandlungen betreffen rund 1,1 Millionen Tarifbeschäftigte. (Zu dpa «Gewerkschaften weiten Warnstreiks im öffentlichen Dienst aus») Foto: Jens Kalaene/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

In the dispute over high energy prices, the Verdi services union is threatening nationwide protests and is demanding double-digit billions in relief. “In order to compensate for the financial hardship caused by the energy price explosion, the state will have to spend another 20 to 30 billion euros this year,” said Verdi boss Frank Werneke of the “Augsburger Allgemeine” on Friday.

Otherwise, Verdi will actively participate in planned protests against the high loads.

“If not now, when should people take their demands to the streets and marketplaces,” said the union boss. Verdi is in talks with other unions and social organizations “to prepare for the coming weeks”.

This also includes organizing demonstrations in the course of the autumn. “These become necessary when the federal government does not sufficiently relieve the burden on the citizens.”

“It is high time that the federal government presented a joint and effective concept to combat the energy price shock for the population,” he said, referring to the third relief package announced by the government.

In addition to a direct payment of 500 euros, Werneke demanded an energy price cap for gas and electricity. “The basis must be the prices of 2021, i.e. from the time before the energy price explosion.” In addition, the federal government must also suspend the debt brake in the coming year.

“Without increased net borrowing, this challenge cannot be met,” said the Verdi boss.

Werneke warned that high inflation would put a strain on democracy. “There is a great danger that demagogues will try to exploit people who are now in need for their own purposes and to abuse the situation politically.” The situation is currently “very tense and explosive”.

Werneke declined to organize protests related to Monday demonstrations.