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Union demands 15% wage increase at Deutsche Post

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows Deutsche Post logo and stock graph

BERLIN (Reuters) -German union Verdi is demanding a 15% wage increase for about 160,000 Deutsche Post workers, the union said on Monday, citing soaring inflation and rising profit at the logistics and mail group.

Verdi's demand, among the highest by major unions this year, is in response to inflation that hit 11.6% in Europe's largest economy last month while worries mount over the rising cost of living.

"Our members expect compensation for inflation and, in addition, a share in the company's success," Andrea Kocsis, Verdi deputy chair and negotiator, said in a statement.

"They have worked under the highest burdens in the last few years and also need this significant wage increase to be able to secure their livelihoods."

A Deutsche Post spokesperson said the wage demand was unrealistically high.

"In the upcoming collective bargaining negotiations, it will be important for us to strike a balance between wage increases for our employees and economic viability for the company," the spokesperson said, adding that there were regulatory caps on how much of its costs the postal company could pass on to customers.

Under German law, the Federal Network Agency decides by how much postage can be raised. Postal companies then decide which prices to adjust and ask the regulator for approval.

Deutsche Post, which owns logistics giant DHL, this month raised its full-year operating profit forecast because it was able to pass on higher prices to customers, though it forecast that growth would be dampened by rising raw material and energy costs next year.

Verdi and Deutsche Post are due to begin wage talks on Jan. 6, but the union said it could call for industrial action from the start of January.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan and Matthias InverardiEditing by Rachel More, Miranda Murray and David Goodman)