Germany's most populous state became the latest to be hit by a warning strike by public servants on Wednesday. The ver.di trade union is demanding a 6.5 percent raise for its members.
Warning strikes by public sector workers continued into a third day on Wednesday, hitting Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, for the first time.
Most of the buses, trams and subway trains remained in their depots in several cities, including the state capital, Dusseldorf, as well as Cologne, Bonn, and Bochum, forcing many commuters who usually take public transport to work to take their cars.
Over the course of the day, other public services such as child care centers, hospitals and retirement homes were also hit by the strikes.
Tens of thousands of people marched in demonstrations in the cities of Cologne, Bochum and Dortmund.
Also affected by the strikes on Wednesday was the southern state of Baden-Württemberg. Public transportation and other public services were disrupted in the city of Stuttgart and other municipalities.
Around 70,000 civil servants were part of the 24-hour action, according to the services-sector union ver.di.
The union organized this week's warning strikes to back up its demand for a wage increase of 6.5 percent or a minimum of 200 euros ($263) per month for its members. Management has rejected this demand but has not presented a counter-proposal. The next round of negotiations is scheduled for March 12 and 13.
pfd, ncy/rc (dpa, dapd)