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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 July 2006, 00:55 GMT 01:55 UK
No end to German doctors' strike
By Tristana Moore
BBC Berlin correspondent

"No money - no doctor": striking doctors in Frankfurt-on-Main
Union reps say some doctors work an 80-hour week
Talks aimed at ending more than three weeks of industrial action by doctors in Germany have broken down.

Around 70,000 doctors in up to 700 municipal clinics have been involved in the dispute, which is over pay and working conditions.

Each day, some 10-15,000 doctors have staged rolling strikes.

The doctors' union, the Marburger Bund, has insisted that emergency care provision will not be affected by the industrial action.

It is a long, hot summer and the patience of Germany's doctors is wearing thin.

All this week, doctors at municipal clinics across the country have staged a series of strikes.

Around 700 hospitals have been affected by the industrial action.

Worst hit are clinics in the southern states of Baden Wuerttemberg and Bavaria.

'Eighty-hour week'

The doctors are demanding a pay rise of up to 17% and better working conditions.

According to the Marburger Bund, a German doctor works on average 60 to 80 hours a week, which is double the number set out in their contract, and these extra hours are often unpaid.

The last round of talks between the union and the local governments broke down this week.

A spokesman for the Employers' Association blamed the doctors' union for not showing any willingness to make a compromise.

Union leaders are now threatening to extend the strikes, but they still say they are ready to get back to the negotiating table.


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