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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bonn Cuts Provoke Strike Wave

BONN -- Tens of thousands of public service workers staged lightning strikes across Germany on Wednesday, vowing to keep up a campaign of disruption until the government gives up demands for a wage freeze and cuts in benefits.


The gathering wave of protests at Bonn's planned cutbacks also spread beyond the public sector, as 16,000 Mercedes-Benz workers briefly brought production to a halt at the luxury car maker's Sindelfingen plant.


"We are going to continue our protests and warning strikes until pay talks restart on May 22," Herbert Mai, the chairman of the public service union OeTV, told reporters.


"The workers are supposed to make a big contribution to balancing the state budget and cutting employers' labor costs while the employers have their tax burden eased," he said. The public sector union has headed opposition to the cutbacks, after public service employers took Bonn's planned savings package as a cue to press for a wage freeze, longer working hours and cuts in sick pay.


OeTV said around 50,000 public service workers took part in stoppages in 10 of Germany's 16 federal states, and that it planned severely to disrupt public transport in the heavily populated Rhine-Ruhr district.


?In Paris, French public service unions called mass protests for May 29 and the Socialist opposition voiced outrage Wednesday after Prime Minister Alain Jupp? said he wanted to shed "layers of fat" from the civil service to cut a budget deficit.