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Business

Business Briefs

Steelworkers vote on strike action, business confidence recovers in May, watchdog taken to court over ProSieben deal, foreign countries attract production.

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Metalworkers from the IG-Metall union plan to strike from June 2.

With negotiations between employers and union officials at an end, Germany's powerful IG Metall engineering union has announced that it intends to mount strikes from June 2 to press for a 35-hour working week in economically-depressed eastern Germany. The decision to strike follows a ballot in which 83 percent of 7,000 steelworkers polled supported strike action, well above the 75 percent approval rating required. Employers have rejected the union's demand for a gradual reduction from a 38-hour working week.

German business confidence recovers in May

Confidence among German businesses rebounded in May, according to a report by the Ifo Institute. The institute said that its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, rose to 87.6 in May from a 16-month low of 86.6 in April. Experts at the institute suggest that the figures hint towards a recovering economy. Optimistic forecasts on a slowing downturn at the end of the year also forced the business expectations index up to 97.2 in May from 94.9.

Watchdog sued over ProSiebenSAT1 deal

K-Capital Partners, the U.S. investment group which owns about 8 percent of ProSiebenSAT1, Germany's largest private broadcaster, is suing BaFin, the German financial watchdog, for being denied a say in the takeover of the company by Haim Saban, the U.S. media billionaire. The complaint has been filed at the higher regional court in Frankfurt. Saban is currently in the process of buying a 36 percent stake in the broadcaster from KirchMedia and K-Capital Partners are calling for full disclosure on the deal.

German companies to move production abroad

According to a survey by the German Federation of Chambers of Commerce (DIHK), one in four companies in Germany have said that they will move their production facilities to foreign countries in the European Union, Eastern Europe or Asia in the next three years. Most cite cheaper production costs abroad as their incentive and blame the high taxes, complicated tax rules and endless bureaucracy in Germany for their decision. The DIHK survey - Germany's largest regular business poll - showed that companies have become more pessimistic in general about the economy and about new investment and employment plans compared with the last full survey in September.