To put more pressure on salary demands, the trade union ver.di has called on employees of Germany's postal service, Deutsche Post, to go on a nationwide strike.
After initial negotiations between the union and Deutsche Post management failed, employees at mail and parcel centers were to walk off the job starting Thursday evening.
"The participation was already very good during the night. Very many colleagues are joining in," Thomas Grossstuck, ver.di spokesman for North Rhine-Westphalia, told public broadcaster ARD early Friday morning.
Exact figures on participation are not yet available. The union is demanding 15% more pay for roughly 160,000 pay-scale employees in Germany with a term of 12 months.
"The employees in the companies will now give a clear answer and lend weight to their demands with strikes," announced ver.di negotiation manager Andrea Kocsis on the union's website.
"That the employers refuse to compensate for real wage losses is a provocation in view of the group's billions in profits," she added.
Deutsche Post has already repeatedly dismissed the salary demand as "unrealistic."
"In the upcoming collective bargaining, it will be important for us to strike a balance between wage increases for our employees and economic viability for the company," a management spokesman had said before the start of negotiations.
Negotiations are scheduled to continue on Feb. 8. Further strikes could follow before then, but major demonstrations in front of the distribution centers are not planned for the time being, according to the union.
Source: Anadolu Agency