Thousands walk out as Deutsche Telekom, ver.di resume talks

Deutsche Telekom and union negotiators resumed talks hoping to end a month-long strike over a plan to transfer workers to a new services unit and cut pay, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report, quoting the ver.di service workers union, said some 13,000 workers staged strikes even as the talks began.

Ado Wilhelm, a union official leading the strike effort, said that it would be Friday at the earliest before the number of striking workers might be reduced significantly, according to the Associated Press report.

Deutsche Telekom did grant one concession ahead of the talks, agreeing to delay letters to some 50,000 workers officially informing them of the transfer plans, the report said.

Ver.di had sought the delay before resuming the talks with the company.

The union authorized a strike on May 10 after talks collapsed over Deutsche Telekom's plans to transfer thousands of workers to a new T-Services operation, with lower pay and longer hours, the report said. The union also seeks a guarantee against layoffs.

Ver.di decided to return to talks after Deutsche Telekom's personnel chief proposed bonuses to offset pay cuts, the report said.

Deutsche Telekom wants to transfer as many as 50,000 staffers from its fixed-line unit into three new service units, covering call centers, technical services and infrastructure, the report said.

The move, Deutsche Telekom said, would help it cut costs by 500 million euros ($667 million) to 900 million euros ($1.2 billion), the report further said.