German Labor

Back in the Game

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DGB protestors at a peaceful demonstration in Frankfurt yesterday.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    German unions are regaining strength in Germany, posing a threat to corporate profits and the country’s economic development.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • German unions including ver.di and IG Metall and union association DGB supported protests in Frankfurt on Wednesday.
    • A new round of strikes is hitting Lufthansa this week, leading to dozens of cancellations.
    • Railway operator Deutsche Bahn has been forced to cancel services last year due to repeated strikes.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Scenes of violent protest — like the one yesterday around the European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt that injured more than 200 people, including 90 police — are common in Europe.

But the chaos unleashed by radical leftists in Germany’s financial capital overshadowed a peaceful protest by some 17,000 people, many of whom may ultimately have a longer-lasting influence over the course of European monetary policy — German unions.

After a largely ignominious decade in which they ratcheted down their demands and rhetoric, German unions, experts say, are back in the country’s political equation — at a time when leftist-led governments in southern Europe are pushing for many of the same labor-friendly reforms.

Wednesday’s “Blockupy” demonstration was organized in part by the Deutsche Gewerkschaftsbund, or DGB, the group association of German unions, which with other labor groups strongly condemned the violence that ravaged the center of the city on the Main River.

After sacrificing wage demands for job security, German unions are becoming increasingly assertive and strike-friendly, behavior more commonly found in neighboring France.

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