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German metalworkers begin warning strikes over pay

German metalworkers have begun warning strikes to underscore demands for a six percent wage hike. Employers have called the demands unreasonable.

Steelworker with flame

Germany is the largest crude steel producer in the EU

After two fruitless negotiation sessions, metalworkers have begun the first in a series of warning strikes. Steelworkers in northwestern Germany have begun strikes as part of a campaign for significant pay increases.

On Wednesday, workers from the IG Metall union at Salzgitter, Germany's second largest steelmaker, went on strike.

According to a spokesperson for the union, the strike started at 4 in the morning with at least 1,300 Salzgitter employees taking part. Leaflets were also handed out outside the plant.

Workers' demands

The trade union is calling for a six percent pay raise for the 85,000 steel workers in the northwestern part of Germany. This includes the states of North-Rhine Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Bremen.

They say that workers deserve a cut of Germany's economic recovery.

IG Metall has also demanded better working conditions for older workers and a new labor agreement for contract employees and temporary workers.

Employers have called the demands unreasonable. Speaking in August, the head of Germany's employers' federation Martin Kannegiesser said economic recovery is on "wobbly legs."

The union announced there will be more warning strikes in other locations over the next few days. More industrial action is planned to target ThyssenKrupp and Westfalenhuette.

Germany is the largest crude steel producer in the European Union and the seventh worldwide.

Author: Catherine Bolsover (dpa/AFP)
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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