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German Bank Workers Mulls Strike

June 14, 2002

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ The union representing German bank workers on Friday scheduled a strike authorization vote for next week, following the country’s construction workers in gearing up for industrial action.

The ver.di service sector union said walkouts could begin next week if 75 percent of the bank workers it represents back a full-scale strike.

The union broke off talks with employers Thursday, rejecting an offer of a nonbinding 3.1 percent annual increase that would not have resulted in an enforceable industrywide agreement for the country’s 460,000 bank employees.

Only about 15 percent of those workers are union members with the right to vote.

Ver.di wants a binding industrywide contract with a 6.5 percent increase. Its top negotiators called for the strike vote at a meeting in Frankfurt, the country’s financial center, and voting will begin Monday.

The union’s move came as workers in the troubled construction sector wrapped up their strike vote, with results of the poll of 340,000 workers expected Saturday.

The construction workers’ union, IG BAU, is seeking a 4.5 percent annual increase. Union officials said walkouts, which would be the first major strikes in the sector since 1949, could begin on Monday.

Last month, Germany’s biggest industrial union, IG Metall, secured a 4 percent annual wage increase for workers in the automotive, engineering and electronics industries last month after staging strikes at companies including German industrial heavyweights such as DaimlerChrysler and Volkswagen’s Audi division.

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