Things are getting rough in German ports. The trade unions formalized the protest of 12,000 dockworkers in Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Wilhelmshaven and Emden a few days ago, and began negotiation procedures for the renewal of the contract.
Negotiations with the employers united in the Central Association of German Seaport Companies (ZSD) broke down last week due to the impossibility of reaching a compromise solution.
The positions of the two sides are too far apart. For the port union, the latest ZDS contract offer is unsatisfactory. It would not shield the workers from increasing inflation, which is currently around 7.9%.
The negotiations, now in their third round, resumed last Friday after a warning strike. It was the first industrial action in German ports for decades. For the ZSD, the salary increase offer is in line with many other collective contracts in force. According to ZSD leader Ulrike Riedel the fact that strikes are now being called for in the current crisis situation is totally unacceptable.
Translation by Giles Foster