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Business

Construction Sector Extends Workweek

The 800,000 or so workers in Germany's construction sector are set to see their working week extended by one hour to 40 hours without any corresponding rise in pay from next year, under a new sector-wide wage deal signed Tuesday. After a year of difficult wage negotiations and a 20-hour round of talks overnight Tuesday, management and unions in the construction sector finally agreed to extend the working week with effect from January 1, 2006, the ZDB industry federation announced. The IG Bau union also confirmed a deal had been reached but declined to comment on the details. The ZDB industry federation said that under the terms of the agreement, minimum wages in the sector, which has been in crisis for more than a decade, would be cut by 1.7 percent with effect from September. In addition, a new performance-related rule would be introduced whereby bonuses, but also pay deductions would be allowed for the first time. And holiday pay would also be cut, ZDB added. In western Germany, employees would see their increased by one percent from April 2006, while employees in eastern Germany would not receive a pay increase.

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