Deutsche Telekom Workers Continue Strike

Workers at Deutsche Telekom entered the second month of a strike on Monday over plans to trim wages and extend hours, even as their union said it was mulling a return to the negotiating table.

Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom

Ver.di, Germany's biggest service union, said some 16,000 workers were on the picket line Monday and a similar number would be out again Tuesday.

Still, the union said it would consider this week whether to resume negotiations with the Bonn-based company, Europe's biggest telecommunications business.

Ver.di spokesman Jan Jurczyk said union officials were examining a proposal made last week by Deutsche Telekom personnel chief Thomas Sattelberger. That plan calls for bonuses that might help offset planned pay cuts.

The union authorized the strike on May 10 as talks collapsed over Deutsche Telekom's plans to transfer thousands of workers to a new T-Services operation -- with lower pay and longer hours, but also a guarantee against layoffs.

Deutsche Telekom wants to transfer as many as 50,000 staffers from its fixed-line unit into three new service units, covering call centers, technical service and infrastructure.

Deutsche Telekom had proposed trimming salaries by 12% over two-and-a-half years with a pledge to avoid layoffs through 2010 at the earliest.

The walkouts have affected the company's call centers, technical support operations and cable installation efforts.

Shares of Deutsche Telekom were down half a percent to 13.62 euros ($18.18).