German strikes spread to Daimler, union considers escalation

by SpeedLux
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Tens of thousands of German industrial workers downed tools on Tuesday in support demands of trade union IG Metall for a 6 percent pay increase and a right to the first new cut in weekly working hours since the 1980s.

Employees have been staging such cautioning strikes since last week, a common strategy in sectoral wage settlements in Germany. About 33,000 employees participated on Tuesday, consisting of 10,000 at Mercedes maker Daimler AG, taking the total to 425,000.

With Europe’s biggest economy steaming ahead and joblessness at a record low, Germany’s most significant trade union is confident of winning a considerably much better deal for around 3.9 million employees in the metal and engineering sectors.

IG Metall stated it would decide on Friday.

“The proposal that the employers have actually made is far from reasonable,” IG Metall chief Joerg Hofmann informed a press conference in Frankfurt. “An offer of a 2 percent wage increase is more like a provocation.”

IG Metall is demanding that employees need to be able to cut their weekly hours to 28 from 35 if they have to care for children, elderly or sick loved ones and get the right to return to work full-time after two years.

The union stated it had beefed up its strike war chest by 84 million euros last year due to subscription dues that increased 2 percent to 561 million euros.

“We have lots of remaining power,” stated treasurer Juergen Kerner. “Our strike coffers are well filled.”

Flash strikes likewise took place last Tuesday at Schaeffler, Bosch Rexroth, ZF Friedrichshafen, Siemens, BMW and Osram.

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