Beverage Plant Workers Strike Over Pay

The employees say their salaries remain significantly lower than those at the company's other factories.

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BERLIN (AP) β€” Employees at a beverage company in eastern Germany that produces the country's popular Vita Cola among other drinks, went on strike because more than 30 years after the country's reunification their salaries are still significantly lower than that of employees working for their parent company in western Germany.

Seventy workers at Waldquell in Schmalkalden in Thuringia walked out of their jobs Tuesday bringing the production of beverages such as mineral waters, lemonades, and Vita Cola, which tastes similar to Coca-Cola, to a halt for several hours, German news agency dpa reported.

A trade union representative said that employees at the Thuringia company currently make 195 euros ($211) per month less than their colleagues at the parent company, Hassia, in Hesse state, and also have to work two more hours per week, according to dpa.

In addition, an inflation compensation bonus that was offered to the work force at Waldquell was to be just under 1,000 euros less than at the parent company.

When Germany was unified in 1990, salaries in the former communist part in the east were much lower than in the west of the country. Despite efforts to align income, employees in former East Germany still make less money and have a lower living standard.

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