Unions representing more that two million West German public service employees halted public transport in various parts of the country and caused serious disruption at civil airports when they began two days of selective strike action Monday (11 February) to press their pay claims with the government.
BONN..MV PAN Strikers with banners
CU Strike banner on tram rail TILT UP TO GV closed tram shed
GV PAN Empty buses plastered with banners
MV PAN Crowded roads
Frankfurt ...GV Cargo building at airport
MV & SV's Freight lying idle (3 shots)
MV's & SV's Airline offices (3 shots)
GV people carry bags from plane (2 shots)
MV INT People carry bags in terminal
WEST BERLIN..SV Sign Kurfurstendamm TILT DOWN to closed metro station
GV Traffic in Kurfurstendamm
GV PAN & SV Buses behind closed gates at Spandau bus station (3 shots)
GV & SV INT Strikers at meeting (2 shots)
SV PAN & GV Strikers at meeting (EXT (2)
SV Strike signs
MV & SV People waiting for taxis
GV Deserted bus stops
GTV's Deserted rail lines (2 shots)
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Background: Unions representing more that two million West German public service employees halted public transport in various parts of the country and caused serious disruption at civil airports when they began two days of selective strike action Monday (11 February) to press their pay claims with the government.
The actions were put into effect despite a last minute initiative by the government to reopen negotiations with the unions and make a new pay offer. By Monday night, however, the new government offer had been turned down and the unions were considering ways of intensifying their campaign. As yet, the strike action has been selective, affecting only 150,000 union members in specific areas of the country.
But it was the first large-scale transport strike in West German history, and millions of factory and office workers had to walk to work or drive on the car-clogged roads.
Airports were in utter chaos as many ground staff and baggage handlers ceased work and thousands of passengers milled around carting their own baggage and trying to find the right plane.
Refuse collection and postal deliveries were disrupted in many parts of the country as the unions swung into the first phase of the official strike following a ballot in which around 90 percent of the trade unionists voted in favour of action.
The strike was called after wage negotiations broke down more than a week ago when the government rejected the unions' demand for a 15 percent increase and stuck to their offer of 9.5 percent. The latest offer on Monday night was reported to have been 10 percent with a special rider for lower paid workers--this was also unacceptable to the unions.