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Germany fails to calm strike

Reports have emerged that the German government stepped in to try to resolve the strike launched by around 15,000 workers at German carrier Deutsche Telekom.

It is understood the government, which is also Deutsche Telekom’s largest shareholder, sent finance minister Peer Steinbrueck to meet with the heads of the German carrier and workers’ union Ver.di but no accord was reached.

The strike was launched over a week ago in protest over staff outsourcing and wage cuts.

The German incumbent has drawn fire over plans to outsource 50,000 staff to three new companies, with new contracts expected to include lower wages and longer working hours.

The strikes are targeting technical infrastructure engineers, call centres and high street retail outlets.

Ver.di’s leadership claims that the terms of the staff transfer, which affects mostly call-centre staff in the carrier’s T-Service division, will amount to a 9 per cent pay cut with increased hours. The union demands that the company offers more money and a long term agreement in return for its consent to the transfer. Ado Wilhelm, the head of Ver.di’s Telecoms and IT section, claims that Deutsche Telekom has refused to discuss this in some five rounds of talks.

The threat of industrial action darkened the skies over Deutsche Telekom further on Thursday, as the carrier’s management claimed the transfer is urgently needed to reduce costs after a disastrous first quarter.

Deutsche Telekom saw profits plummet 58 per cent to Eur459m during the first quarter, as traditional fixed line customers continued to abandon the operator.


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