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Collective bargaining conflict: Another warning strike in the Port of Hamburg

Work has been suspended in the port of Hamburg since this morning, and dock workers in Bremerhaven are also expected to stop work. Verdi is increasing the pressure on employers with new warning strikes.

Shortly before the fourth round of negotiations in the wage dispute between seaport companies, employees and the Verdi union are once again flexing their muscles. Early in the morning, numerous dock workers in Hamburg stopped work for a two-day warning strike. “Container handling is at a standstill in a whole host of handling companies, and the first day of the warning strike is, in our view, (…) a complete success,” said André Kretschmar, Verdi’s head of the maritime industry department. In the afternoon, dock workers in Bremerhaven also wanted to join the warning strike: around 3,200 employees from Bremen and Bremerhaven are expected to bring the port to a standstill, a Verdi spokesman said. To start with, around 600 women and men stopped work.

In Hamburg, Verdi called on employees to continue the warning strike on Wednesday or to stop work again – and not to start again before the end of the night shift. A rally is planned for 10 a.m. in front of the headquarters of the Central Association of German Seaports (ZDS). Afterwards, a demonstration will lead past the headquarters of the port logistics company HHLA to the union building, where a final rally is being organized around midday. The fourth round of negotiations is planned for Thursday and Friday in Bremen. A rally is planned to kick off the negotiations, said a union spokesman. A warning strike is also planned in Emden.

With a collective agreement running for twelve months, Verdi is demanding, among other things, an increase in hourly wages of three euros retroactively to June 1st and a corresponding increase in shift allowances. The Central Association of German Seaport Companies recently offered a wage increase of 2.9 percent, or at least 80 cents more per hour, as of June 1st. Shift allowances are therefore to increase by 33 cents to 3.50 euros.

The ZDS called on the union to maintain moderation and balance when exercising the right to strike. “In light of the constructive rounds of negotiations to date and the fair offer presented, the ZDS believes there is currently no reason for warning strikes that would impair the reliability of German seaports.”

In mid-June, there were warning strikes in several northern German ports, including Hamburg, Brake and Emden. Dock workers also went on strike at the central entrances and exits to the terminals in Bremerhaven, with only an emergency crew deployed. According to Verdi, more than 1,000 employees were involved.

Source: Stern

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