Striking workers shut down Hamburg port

No large container ships were sailing on the Elbe River near Hamburg, Germany’s biggest port, on Thursday due to a strike by port workers.

The work stoppage is part of a rolling series of strikes affecting various sectors of the economy nationwide.

Only barges and small ships were moving on the waterway.

Workers at the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) began a strike on Wednesday evening.

According to the Verdi trade union, they are expected to stay off work until 6:00 a.m. (0500 GMT) on Friday.

On Wednesday morning, the HPA had already closed the river for ships requiring pilotage.

These larger vessels would not have made it to the port on time to avoid the disruption caused by the strike.

The strike affects the so-called pilot transfer boats, without which the pilots can no longer get to their assigned ships.

A third round of pay negotiations with Verdi is starting on March 27. The union is demanding 10.5 per cent more pay, or at least 500 euros (545 dollars) more per month.

This is for the approximately 2.5 million federal and municipal public sector workers nationwide.

The employers’ side had so far offered five per cent more money in two steps and one-off payments totalling €2,500.