German public sector employers and the Verdi trade union are meeting this Wednesday in talks aimed at avoiding what could become Germany's biggest public service strike in a decade. Verdi, which represents about 2.8 million fire fighters, garbage collectors and other public sector workers, has said it considers the talks a last chance to avert a strike. The employers -- including the federal, state, and municipal governments -- warned that a strike would make it even more
difficult to reach an agreement. On Monday, the employers, which are struggling with empty coffers and falling tax revenues, rejected an arbitration compromise for a pay increase of three percent in two stages over 18 months.