HANNOVER/LUDWIGSHAFEN (dpa-AFX) - Ahead of the third round of wage negotiations for the chemical industry, thousands of employees across Germany have stopped work in a warning strike, according to trade unions. At a rally at the chemical company BASF in Ludwigshafen on Wednesday, the chief negotiator for the Mining, Chemical and Energy Union (IGBCE), Oliver Heinrich, spoke of a strong signal for the negotiations next week.

According to the union, around 5,000 people took part in the event in the Rhineland-Palatinate chemical metropolis. According to the IGBCE in Hanover, there were also rallies in North Rhine-Westphalia on Wednesday at the chemical sites in Leverkusen, Dormagen, Uerdingen and Wuppertal.

Employees of the pharmaceutical company Merck in Darmstadt had already called a warning strike on Monday. On Tuesday, employees at the chemical company Evonik in Hanau and the supplier and tire manufacturer Continental in Hanover, among others, also walked off the job.

The third round of negotiations at federal level is scheduled for June 26 and 27 in Bad Breisig near Bonn. This is the last opportunity to reach a result before the end of the peace obligation on June 30.

The IG Bergbau Chemie Energie (IG BCE - Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union) justifies its demand for a seven percent pay rise with the loss of purchasing power for employees due to inflation and the upturn in the chemical industry. In addition, the union wants to implement regulations for the first time in a large collective agreement that put union members in a better position than other employees. According to the IG BCE, measurable benefits could include more time off, more money or better social and health protection for union members./eks/DP/ngu