German government, union seal pay raise for public workers

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German government and union negotiators have reached a deal that should give some 2.3 million public-sector workers a wage increase averaging 7.5 percent over the next two years.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and the ver.di union announced the agreement early Wednesday, following a dispute that has seen a string of walkouts in recent weeks by workers at airports and local transport companies, in nursery schools and in garbage collection among other areas.

Ver.di chairman Frank Bsirske said it was "the best result for many years." The union had sought a 6 percent raise this year for federal and municipal employees, but the agreement foresees staggered increases under a deal that runs through August 2020.

Many private-sector workers have seen healthy wage gains recently as Europe's biggest economy shows solid growth.