FRANKFURT, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Workers at Germany's top energy group E.ON AG are planning to strike from Monday, Feb. 4, after wage negotiations with the utility failed, trade unions said on Friday.
The strikes, which would be the first at the group since it was founded in 2000, would not impact district heating, the Verdi union said.
Verdi, in conjunction with mining union IG BCE, wanted pay rises for 30,000 staff, for trainees to be taken on for at least 12 months after passing their courses, and for 250 permanent jobs to be awarded to successful trainees from 2015 onwards, among other points.
'We hope to resume negotiations ahead of a possible strike in order to reach a solution acceptable to both sides,' Regine Stachelhaus, E.ON board member in charge of human resources, said in response to the announcement.
A similar development is taking place at E.ON sector peer RWE. Trade unions there earlier this week also ended negotiations with the company, saying no progress was made regarding wage demands. Unions at RWE are due to decide next Tuesday whether or not to take industrial action.
Both E.ON and peers such as RWE and EnBW are struggling with structural changes in their industry resulting from weak energy demand, high gas prices and the loss of some nuclear reactors after the government's decision to exit nuclear energy faster than planned.
The unions have argued that forecast-beating earnings and net profit for the months to September allowed the company to pay higher wages.
(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by David Holmes) Keywords: EON STRIKE/
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