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Rail Strike Ends in Germany, Continues in France


German train drivers have returned to work after their 62-hour strike ended on schedule. But a railroad worker strike in France has entered its fourth day.

The head of the union that organized the German strike, Manfred Schell, said Saturday that the union will meet early next week to discuss the next step. Union leaders have warned of an unlimited strike if there is no progress.

The GDL union is seeking a contract separate from other rail workers that would grant pay raises of up to 31 percent.

Government negotiators have reportedly offered 10 percent raises, while refusing demands for a separate bargaining unit.

The strike was Germany's biggest ever and cost the economy an estimated $73 million a day.

In France, railroad workers are striking for a fourth day, creating havoc for commuters, businesses and industries.

Members of several French transport unions voted Friday to press on with their national strike against pension reforms.

Student protests against President Nicolas Sarkozy's education reforms have forced at least seven universities to close. The French president is also facing a walkout by government workers next week.

Participation in the transport worker strike in France dropped from about 60 percent on Thursday to about 30 percent on Friday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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