Some 312 disputes were recorded last year, the highest in nearly a decade, a new report says FILE PHOTO. © Global Look Press / IMAGO /Markus Matzel

Germany saw a sharp increase in industrial actions and labor disputes in 2023, according to a new report published by the Institute of Economic and Social Sciences (WSI).

A total of 312 labor disputes were recorded in Germany last year, up from 225 in 2022, the report said. The strikes linked to those disputes resulted in the equivalent 1,527,000 working days of labor lost — twice as much as the previous year, according to the institute. Among the longest strikes were ones that lasted 123 and 180 days, figures cited in the report show.

The last time the number of strikes was this high was 2015, the statistics showed. Germany was perceived by many as a “strike republic” last year, the report added, noting that the industrial disputes had seriously impacted the everyday lives of many people. Strikes in the fields of public transportation, the postal service, and among airport and railway workers were among the notable examples, it said.

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According to the WSI, high inflation and wage losses were the primary factors driving the increase in labor disputes. The question of “how the costs of inflation are distributed between capital and labor” was at the core of such conflicts, it said. Some labor market changes that put employees in a relatively stronger position also contributed to their determination to seek better pay and working conditions, it added.

This year is also shaping up to be “a year of intensive labor disputes,” the WSI warned.

According to the report, a major industrial action is expected in the nation’s metals industry this autumn, which employs some 4 million people across the country.

The German economy has taken several major hits in recent years, particularly in light of the EU push to eliminate Russian energy imports as part of the sanctions drive against Moscow over the Ukraine conflict.

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For years, Germany’s prized industrial sector had been fueled by relatively inexpensive Russian gas. However, Berlin decided to switch to costlier alternatives from other sources, including American liquefied natural gas.

In February, the president of the German Institute for Economic Research, Marcel Fratzscher, estimated that the Ukraine conflict had cost the nation more than €200 billion ($216 billion).

Germany was the only G7 economy to contract last year as it struggled to overcome the fallout from the energy crisis. Official data published in January showed that the economy shrank by 0.3% year-on-year in 2023 under pressure from soaring inflation and higher interest rates.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has nevertheless blamed Moscow for his nation’s economic woes. The embargo against Russia was necessary to defend Europe against “imperialism,” he claimed in April. (RT)