Dock workers’ strike hits cargo handling at German ports

BERLIN (AP) — Dock workers at Germany’s North Sea ports went on strike Friday in the latest of several walkouts that have added pressures on shipping as their union demands a hefty pay rise to counter high inflation.

The 48-hour strike, which is to end on Saturday morning, has largely paralyzed cargo handling at major ports including Hamburg, Bremerhaven and Wilhelmshaven, news agency dpa reported. It follows a 24-hour walkout in June and a previous one-shift warning strike.

However, there will be no further strikes before late August under a deal reached at the labor court in Hamburg on Thursday night, the court said. The agreement calls for the two sides to set three further dates for negotiations up to Aug. 26. Courts in several cities had rejected bids by employers for injunctions halting this week’s strike.

So far, seven rounds of negotiations haven’t produced any results. The ver.di union has been calling for a one-year deal that would include a raise of 1.20 euros (dollars) per hour for around 12,000 employees in Hamburg, Bremen and Lower Saxony state, plus a 7.4% increase to balance out inflation.

The dispute comes as shipping already has been disrupted by a variety of issues, including the coronavirus restrictions in China.

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