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Public sector strikes hit two more states

After initial strikes in the states of Hesse and Saarland on Monday, public workers' unions called temporary strikes for members in North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein on Tuesday.

Public sector strikes hit two more states
Photo: DPA

Workers at university clinics, courts, ministries and municipal administrative offices, along with street maintenance crews and fire fighters, walked off the job in the populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The union members were expected to attend a midday demonstration in the state capital of Düsseldorf, where the chief of the public workers’ union Verdi, Frank Bsirske, was expected to speak about their bid to pressure employers into a wage increase.

In the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, the Education and Science Workers’ Union (GEW) called a teachers’ strike at schools in Neumünster, Itzehoe, Flensburg and Pinneberg.

The GEW plans to join the GdP police trade union for a demonstration in front of the state Finance Ministry in Kiel at midday.

The strikes come after unions and employers failed to reach a wage agreement last Friday in Potsdam for some 600,000 public workers across the nation.

Unions have demanded an additional €50 per month plus a three-percent wage increase, in addition to a guarantee of employment for apprentices.

The next round of negotiations is scheduled for March 9 in Potsdam.

Additional strikes have been planned for Wednesday in the states of Hamburg, Baden-Württemberg and Bayern, and on Thursday in Lower Saxony and Bremen.

DAPD/DPA/The Local/ka

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STRIKES

French customs officers strike over job cuts

Customs officers across France will walk out on Thursday in protest at job cuts that unions say will “weaken the customs network”.

French customs officers strike over job cuts

The national strike on Thursday, March 10th is expected to lead to delays at ports, airports and on the Eurostar.

The strike, which will include a rally outside the National Assembly building in Paris, was called by the CFDT-Douane and has the support of other unions. 

A work-to-rule protest over pay and conditions by customs officers in 2019, under the shadow of Brexit, led to delays and disruption at airports, as well as ports including Calais and Dunkirk, and on Eurostar trains.

Unions are calling on the government to axe plans to switch responsibility for import duty collection to the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques by 2024, at the cost of 700 customs’ officer jobs – and, according to strikers, tens of billions of euros to State coffers.

“We are asking for the reforms to be stopped, mainly that of the transfer of taxation, which is disorganising the network with the elimination of nearly a thousand jobs,” CFDT-Douane’s secretary general David-Olivier Caron said.

The planned job cuts come after years of restructuring and streamlining that has seen thousands of positions disappear, the unions say, when customs fraud and smuggling is rising because of a lack of resources.

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