Workers in Germany have been organising big strike actions in March and April this year, for better living and working conditions. Some of the strike actions are reported to be the biggest so far in several decades.
Workers have been out on the streets in protest actions since 2022, particularly after the war in Ukraine caused energy and food prices to soar. In the face of the 10.4% inflation currently in Germany, the workers are demanding an increase in wages to meet the increased costs of living.
The EVG union, which represents around 180,000 workers of the national railway Deutsche Bahn, organised a day long strike on April 20, causing country-wide disruptions in rail services. The rail workers’ action was organised simultaneously with a walkout at four German airports – Duesseldorf, Hamburg, Cologne Bonn and Stuttgart – by airport workers of the Verdi union.
Prior to this, a day-long strike by tens of thousands of workers at airports, ports, railways, buses, ferries and metro lines throughout Germany brought much of Germany’s air traffic, rail service and commuter lines to a halt on March 27. This was reported to be the biggest joint strike action across local, national and air transportation sectors held in the last 30 years.
Public Sector workers under the Verdi union, including 2.5 million civil service workers and municipal workers, went on strike earlier this year, demanding a 10.5 per cent increase in salaries. They demanded a monthly pay increase for trainees, students, interns and apprentices, as well as permanent employment for the apprentices after completing their training.
On March 9, industrial workers organized in the IGBCE trade union held a day of protest action, calling for improvements in workplace safety and a lower industrial electricity rate. Industrial workers’ union IG Metall has demanded an 8 per cent pay increase for the workers it represents.
On March 3, workers providing local public transportation went on strike.
On March 8, International Women’s Day, childcare workers in nurseries, kindergartens and social services stopped work across the country. Municipal workers who provide garbage collection, forestry workers, security guards in airports and cultural workers all went on strike in March.
160,000 postal workers had announced indefinite strike action in early March, demanding a 15 per cent wage increase to counter inflation. Postal workers had organised many protest actions in January and February this year. As a result of their struggle they achieved wage increases from 11 to 20 per cent.
Protesting workers opposed the participation of their government in NATO’s war plans and its huge military spending, cutting back on the needs of the workers. They demanded an end to the government’s huge war spending and called for more government resources to be spent on providing relief to the workers in these difficult conditions.