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Deutsche Telekom Workers Strike

Some 12,000 workers at Deutsche Telekom walked off the job Monday, protesting the telecommunications company's plan to reorganize its work force by transferring 50,000 staffers into separate units, union officials said.

The workers' union, ver.di, said the warning strike came as it and Deutsche Telekom embarked on a fourth round of talks about plans to transfer the workers.

Under German labor law, a company must have approval from the labor unions if it wants to implement changes with its work force.

Deutsche Telekom wants to lower the wages of part of the employees who are slated to be transferred to other units -- a move vehemently opposed by ver.di, which wants the company to guarantee jobs for a certain number of years.

The company, which has seen its earnings tumble and market share erode amid fierce competition in the German domestic market, said it needs to transfer the workers as part of its cost-cutting plan to remain competitive. It wants to complete the moves by July. The strike is the third since last week when 1,000 staffers held a strike, followed by 8,000 more on Thursday.

Deutsche Telekom employs approximately 160,000 people in Germany.

Shares of Deutsche Telekom rose nearly half a percent to 13.19 euros ($17.85) in Frankfurt.

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