DT strike may draw to close

19 Jun 2007

The London Financial Times reports that the strikes at Deutsche Telekom (DT) may be nearing an end, after the German incumbent agreed to extend job guarantees until 2012 for about 50,000 employees, a year longer than previously proposed. DT and the trade union Ver.di are said to be close to a final agreement which would bring the five-week strike, the first to hit DT since its privatisation over a decade ago, to an end. Several issues were still being discussed, but a wage agreement could be announced today, a Ver.di spokesman said. The union resumed negotiations with management last week after more than a month of industrial action. Rene Obermann, DT’s chief executive, wants to reduce the group’s staff costs by as much as EUR900 million (USD1.2 billion) over two years, not only to be competitive but ‘to survive as a company’. Management has offered job guarantees in exchange for a 9% pay cut for 50,000 call centre and maintenance workers, about a quarter of its German staff. Without an agreement, DT executives have warned that staff would be shifted to lower-paying contracts on 1 July. This would still mean wage cuts, and would also leave workers without guaranteed employment.

Germany, Deutsche Telekom (DT)