BERLIN, June 12 (Xinhua) -- German civil servants, including school teachers employed in the public sector, will continue to be excluded from the legal right of workers to go on strike, the country's Federal Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday.
The Karlsruhe-based judges hereby rejected a constitutional appeal which sought to overturn a provision in the German civil service code barring its members from going on strike. The presiding judge Andreas Vosskuhle argued that a right to strike for civil servants would create "a domino effect" in the public sector which threatened to undermine "fundamental principles of civil service."
The verdict by the Federal Constitutional Court emphasized that civil servants were still explicitly allowed to organize in trade unions under German law in order to preserve and improve their working conditions. However, industrial action which involved public sector staff laying down their work as witnessed during a spate of recent "warning strikes" was incompatible with the fiduciary duty and alimentation principle associated with holding a civic office.
The constitutional appeal was launched by four German teachers who participated in industrial strike action at the start of the year as part of now-concluded negotiations over collective wages in the public sector and subsequently received disciplinary penalties for their behavior. The plaintiffs' legal challenge against their punishment was supported by the German Education Union (GEW) and the Federation of German Trade Unions (DGB).
According to the Federal Constitutional Court, around three quarters of a total of 800,00 German teachers are formally classified as civil servants.