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Europe

DT: Strike Watch

1:15 PM -- It's like the 1970s all over again.

Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is facing an increasing level of industrial action from members of the Ver.di union over the carrier's plans to hive off 50,000 services staff into a new division where they would have to take home less money but work longer hours to save their jobs.

That ever-so-tempting offer didn't find much support, with union members voting almost unanimously to strike in protest. (See Deutsche Telekom Faces Strike.)

Friday was Day 1 of the industrial action, with about 11,000 staff striking, and getting a long weekend into the bargain.

That weekend has now been stretched further, with about 14,000 staff walking out and joining the picket lines Monday.

With every strike comes the battle of wits between employer and union. Deutsche Telekom is, according to German press reports, talking about splitting up and selling certain units, and warning that the strike could weaken the carrier and make it ripe for takeover. The unions, meanwhile, claim DT has been waving wads of cash at contract staff in a bid to cover for the missing workers.

This could all get very unfreundlich. Watch this space.

— Ray Le Maistre, Picket Line Editor, Light Reading

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