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Will Oktoberfest Be Hit With Pretzel Shortage? Bakers May Strike

MAINZ, Germany -- Beer tents at the world-famous Munich Oktoberfest may face a pretzel shortage this year after local bakers threatened to go on strike. Munich’s NGG gastronomy union, which represents nearly 50,000 members of the Bavarian bakers' guild, is demanding a 6.5 percent wage increase.

Talks stalled in the past week and the union threatened to strike during the world's biggest beer festival, which is due to start on September 20. “The offer from the employers is far too low and therefore we have to put more pressure behind our demands,” Walter Linner from the NGG union told NBC News. However, organizers reassured visitors that the traditional snacks would remain on sale. “We spoke with one of our suppliers already and were told that they will ensure deliveries,” said Dr. Gabriele Papke, a spokeswoman for the festival. The owner of the festival's Hacker beer tent said he hoped the bakers would "respect the tradition" and not strike during the event. “But, if they do, then we just have to drink more beer,” Toni Roiderer said. Around 6.4 million people visited Oktoberfest last year, generating an estimated $1.5 billion for the region.

Image: A visitor reaches for a mug of beer during Oktoberfest's opening ceremony on Sept. 21, 2013
A reveler reaches for a mug of beer after the tapping of the first barrel during the opening ceremony for the 180th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, on September 21, 2013. MICHAEL DALDER / Reuters, file

- Andy Eckardt