Health services union ver.di is considering all-out strike action following the refusal of management at the Düsseldorf and Essen university hospitals to negotiate an agreement to tackle excessive workloads (see two previous editions of epsucob@NEWS). The union had been discussing various measures to tackle staff shortages and overwork and it had welcomed an initiative by the employers to take on 100 extra staff. Further talks were expected but then to ver.di's surprise on 14 August the employers announced that they wouldn't be seeking to negotiate an agreement. Ver.di will continue to press for the negotiations to resume. EPSU sent a solidarity message.