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RWE Could Face Extra Costs as Workers Stage Strikes, Union Says

RWE AG could face “millions” of euros in extra costs as workers in Germany start a series of warning strikes next week that could shut down plants and force the company to purchase electricity on the market, a union official said.

RWE workers will stage surprise protests at as-yet-unidentified RWE power plants as well as grid facilities and administrative offices, said Guenter Isemeyer, a spokesman for the Ver.di services union in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia. A union commission rejected RWE’s pay offer last week.

“The customers won’t see anything, but the shareholders won’t be happy about it,” Isemeyer said by phone from the state capital, Dusseldorf. He said a sixth round of talks to resolve the standoff isn’t “realistic” under current circumstances.

The union rejected Essen-based RWE’s offer of a 3 percent pay increase over a period of 16 months in addition to a one-time payment of 1,000 euros ($1,328). Workers are demanding a 6.5 percent increase over 12 months, Isemeyer said.

RWE spokesman Martin Pack declined to comment on the wage negotiations. He said energy supplies won’t be disrupted by any work protests.

RWE is Germany’s biggest power supplier by capacity of generating plants while E.ON AG is the country’s biggest utility by market capitalization.

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