Thousands of teachers in many German states struck last week to demand a 6% pay increase. Their action included mass demonstrations in cities from Hamburg to Dresden. Along with other colleagues in public service, teachers say that their pay is not keeping up with inflation and that state governments have a surplus of cash which is not being used for their hard-pressed employees.
In Dresden, school students were supporting the strike, with one spokesperson pointing out that the workload and expertise demanded of teachers was ever greater, as the traditionally segregated schools are now following a policy of inclusion, integrating children with special needs and refugee children into their classes.
Two unions are involved in the strikes, GEW, the teachers union and public employees' union Ver-di. Negotiations are continuing on the 16th February and union leaders have threatened more strikes if they are unsuccessful. As one striking teacher put it: 'This strike is just a warning. We can always put another one on top of it.'