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German workers at US bases strike over pay

On Tuesday, more than 70 civilian employees of the U.S. Army in Katterbach, Germany, went on strike and protested for higher wages. They also were striking in Illesheim, which like Katterbach, belongs to U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach.

PHOTO COURTESY OF PETRA FICHTNER

By MARCUS KLOECKNER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 19, 2017

About 70 German workers from U.S. military bases at Ansbach, Katterbach and Illesheim went on strike Tuesday to demand higher wages.

Members of the German union ver.di held a protest at Katterbach after rejecting a 1 percent pay increase offered by the U.S. and other foreign forces in negotiations last week, the union said.

The union is asking for a 5 percent pay raise for the roughly 300 German workers at the three bases.

U.S. military officials were not immediately available for comment Tuesday afternoon.

The union said its offer would compensate workers for inflation, productivity and the years when wages weren’t increased.

“The employers want to fob us off with 1 percent,” said Heidi Kolb, a ver.di member who works at Katterbach. “This is not an appreciation of our work. Employers are asking for more and more and want to pay always less. We will not tolerate this any longer.”

Petra Fichtner from ver.di Mittelfranken said the union wants “at least 100 euros” more for every worker employed by foreign forces in Germany retroactive to Sept. 1, for the next 12 months.

The strike has been successful since airport support and other services “were paralyzed” today, Fichtner said.

Bases at Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels could also soon see worker strikes, said Kathrin Birner of ver.di Oberpfalz.

“We will follow the example from Ansbach-Katterbach and Illesheim to raise pressure [on the employers],” Birner said.

The next negotiations between the union and the foreign forces will take place Sept. 26-27 in Bonn, union officials said.

kloeckner.marcus@stripes.com

On Tuesday, more than 70 civilian employees of the U.S. Army in Katterbach, Germany, went on strike and protested for higher wages. They also were striking in Illesheim, which like Katterbach, belongs to U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach.
PHOTO COURTESY OF PETRA FICHTNER

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