Day care strikes continue despite new date for wage talks

Day care strikes continue despite new date for wage talks
Sacks marked with weights demonstrate physical strain for teachers. Photo: DPA
Striking public day care workers chose to continue putting pressure on state employers Friday for better wages and working conditions despite agreeing on a new date for negotiations.

In the state of North Rhine-Westphalia some 2,500 educators and social workers did not show up for work at 200 day care centres, known as Kitas.

Next Tuesday state employers, public workers’ union Verdi and Science Workers’ Union (GEW) plan to meet in Frankfurt for renewed negotiations after weeks of strikes have forced parents across the country to find alternative care for their children. The offer came from the employers after talks last week failed.

“It is good that there will be negotiations,” a Verdi spokesperson in Düsseldorf said, adding that strikes still wouldn’t be stopped. “We hope that the employers have learned from this and are interested in reaching a speedy agreement with us.”

The strikes are part of an ongoing dispute by unions to get better wages and healthcare options for 220,000 educators across the country.

According to union figures, only 58 percent of social workers and 26 percent of educators see themselves reaching retirement in good health under the current working conditions.

The unions refused an offer from the German Association of Municipal Employers (VKA) after negotiations in Berlin two weeks ago, saying it was “not worthy of negotiation.”

Depending on salary bracket, the unions want a wage increase of between €200 and €1,000, but state employers offered a total increase of €220.

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