Teachers in Berlin, Germany, are being called out by their union, the GEW, for a week's action starting on 13th May. This follows the breakdown of negotiations with the state government over the adverse pay and conditions suffered by teachers, who are employed as so-called 'Angestellte' or employees, as opposed to 'Beamte' or civil servants. After the reunification of Germany, teachers in the old GDR were all employed on the less favoured status.

Individual schools will be affected by up to 3 days of strike action and every day the striking teachers will meet at the town hall. Although only the 'Angestellte' are being called to strike all other teachers are invited to join in actions, including a conference with parents and pupils taking part as well as teachers.

The GEW accuses the state government of being confrontational and causing division in schools. The Berlin chairperson, Doreen Siebernick, said: "In the schools the different groups are being played off one against the other. Those who aren't being called out on strike are expected to strike break. For example Beamte are going to be used to carry out the work of Angestellte and even teaching assistants are being misused as strike breakers."

This is the fifth time this year that Berlin's teachers have been on strike - they have been on strike for a day or two every month since January.