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Deutsche Bank and call centre employees agree on pay deal

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) -Deutsche Bank has reached a pay deal with striking staff at call centres, union officials said on Friday.

The agreement brings to an end a months-long labour dispute involving about 650 staff in Berlin and Essen at the call centre unit DB Direkt.

The deal envisages the gradual introduction of a 13th month of pay, a one-time payment and wage increases that average out to be around 2.7% per year.

The strike took place over 13 weeks as the bank announced that it was rewarding some staff for a pandemic-related trading boom with a 29% increase in the bonus pool for last year.

The call centre employees are among the lowest-paid at the German bank, with starting wages of around 12 euros ($14.47) an hour, according to union officials.

Union officials said the strike was disruptive, creating long waits for customers trying to get through to the bank. They argued that call centres had grown in importance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Initially, workers sought a 6% pay increase, while the bank offered pay increases of 1.5% in two rounds.

Deutsche Bank did not immediately comment.

($1 = 0.8294 euros)

(Reporting by Patricia Uhlig; Writing by Tom Sims, editing by Kirsti Knolle and Jason Neely)