German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Justice Minister Katarina Barley and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer react as they pose for a group photo at the German government guesthouse Meseberg Palace in Meseberg, Germany. -Reuters
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Saturday he would press for "reasonable results" in the next round of pay talks with more than two million public sector workers, but he rejected the Verdi union's demand for a six percent increase.
Wage talks are due to resume on Sunday after 150,000 public sector employees staged warning strikes and walkouts last week that left thousands of passengers stranded at airports, and hit hospitals, childcare centres and waste depots.
Seehofer, the federal government's top negotiator in the talks, underscored the importance of public sector workers and said it was "self-evident" that they should benefit from the country's economic growth. However, he said Verdi's demand was unreasonable.
"It is and remains clear that the union demand for a six percent increase is too high for one year," he said in a statement issued by his ministry. "We will continue the negotiations in such a way that we can quickly achieve reasonable results."
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