German lock personnel strikes to partly block some canals

HAMBURG, July 23 Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:36pm IST

HAMBURG, July 23 (Reuters) - Several canals in Germany will be partially blocked to cargo shipping this week due to strikes by staff that operate the locks, German trade union Ver.di said on Tuesday, in protest against planned job cuts.

The strikes, set to last the rest of the week, are to protest government plans to restructure WSA, Germany's inland navigation authority.

Lock personnel are striking in parts of North-Rhine Westphalia, Bavaria and Lower Saxony, Ver.di said. Lock-keepers in the eastern region of Berlin-Brandenburg will join the strike later in the week.

The strikes are limited to individual canals and do not cover the whole network in the regions, the WSA said.

Ver.di is calling for wage and other guarantees for WSA employees after the government said it planned to reform the agency, entailing heavy job losses.

Traders said they did not expect the strikes to cause widespread disruption and that shipment delays were likely to be local and restricted to smaller canals. (Reporting by Michael Hogan; editing by Jane Baird)

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