Berlin strike against discrimination
By Will Firth
BERLIN — Monday-morning traffic in East Berlin and parts of West Berlin was seriously disrupted on September 9 by a warning strike of public transport workers. It was supported by the Transport and Public Sector Union and the Office Workers' Union.
The strike was part of a campaign for recognition of workers' years of service in the former German Democratic Republic.
Since German unification last October, many workers in the east have been employed as if they were new in the job. That's meant being cut out of seniority allowances, long-service leave and other entitlements.
Widespread industrial action in recent weeks has also come from nurses and other medical personnel in protest at staff shortages in health centres and hospitals. Employees in these areas in eastern Germany get only around half the pay of colleagues doing comparable work in western Germany. Many younger and better qualified medical workers have been lured away by better wages, thus creating personnel problems in the east.