Living in Germany: Strikes, carnival celebrations and how rock stars can improve your German

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Strike action heats up in Germany

With inflation rising significantly over the past year, it’s no surprise that employees in Germany want to see their pay packets increase too. In fact, a recent study by the Federal Office of Statistics found that real wages actually fell for the second year in a row in Germany due to the spike in consumer prices. So it’s perhaps no surprise that strikes are really picking up in Germany, as is the case in many other European countries. 

On Friday, ground staff and security workers at several German airports were called out on strike by unions in a dispute over pay.  It resulted in more than 2,000 flights being cancelled and many more being delayed. Hundreds of thousands of passengers were affected by the strikes. However, the union Verdi, which is leading negotiations for public sector workers, defended the action, urging better pay at a time when workers are seeing their incomes eroded by the higher cost of living. There have also been strikes by postal workers, local transport employees as well as childcare and care workers around the country as negotiations heat up. 

In the ongoing collective bargaining dispute, Verdi and the civil servants’ association DBB are demanding a 10.5 percent pay rise for workers to offset inflation. The next round of collective bargaining between unions and employers takes place on February 22nd and 23rd. It’s unclear what will happen but it’s clear that unions and employees are prepared to fight hard for better pay deals. 

Tweet of the week

We received a huge response to our survey asking people for their advice on dating Germans, and the reaction on social media also made us giggle. You can read the results here and we also discuss them on our podcast as well as interview a dating expert for tips! 

Where is this?

Photo: DPA/Oliver Berg

Karneval season has kicked off in Germany! And this is, of course, Cologne where festivities are ramping up. Revellers got into the carnival spirit on February 16th – Weiberfastnacht – in front of the majestic Cologne Cathedral. It’s the first time since the pandemic began that the celebrations are taking place without any Covid restrictions – so expect things to be a little wilder than usual.

Did you know?

We all know that the German language can be a tricky one to learn. And sometimes it can be hard to practise it because many Germans love speaking English (and they are so darn good at it!) However, did you know that you could turn to some well-known pop music heroes to get your German language practice in? Yes, really!

Liverpool’s very own The Beatles have a strong connection to Deutschland because they essentially became professional live musicians in Hamburg’s gritty Reeperbahn district. The sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll ensured they had many lively experiences while in Germany, and they developed a soft spot for the country – even learning a bit of Deutsch. If you want to enjoy some great hits and listen to German in your ear, then check out these versions of two of their biggest hits – Komm gib mir deine Hand and Sie liebt dich.

Let’s not forget another famous expat to Germany back in the day – step forward David Bowie. The legend, who spent time in Berlin in the 1970s, performed a German version of his iconic song Heroes (Helden auf Deutsch) for the soundtrack of the German film Christiane F. Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo. Don’t forget to check out our full guide on how stars can help you learn German grammar.