BRUSSELS, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A dispute over how much European Union civil servants are paid left the vast EU headquarters in Brussels nearly empty, a trade unionist said.
Simon Coates said the aim of the strike is to send a message to the heads of state and government that real men and women work for the EU, the EUobserver.com reported.
Three unions issued notice that they would go on strike to protest additional budget cuts ahead of this week's European Council meeting.
A group of contributors, including Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have called for deeper cuts in the pay of EU officials to coincide with austerity programs in their respective countries.
One German newspaper reported that thousands of senior EU officials earn more each month than Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The trade unions issued a statement saying if the cuts go through "(EU) institutions would no longer be able to perform their tasks of designing, drawing up and implementing future policies."