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Business

German metalworkers secure strong wage hike

Germany's trade union IG Metall has reached a tentative wage agreement with employers in the electrical engineering and metalworking sectors, giving workers a substantial pay hike and ending a series of token strikes.

The tentative wage deal for the important industrial sectors was reached after 14 hours of negotiations Friday night and will give some 700,000 workers 4.8 percent higher wages for the next 21 months.

In addition, the sectors' employees would receive one-time payments of 150 euros ($170) each for the months of April through June, trade union representative Arndt Kirchoff said.

Kirchoff described the wage agreement as a "good solution for both employees and employers."

Originally, Germany's biggest trade union, IG Metall, had demanded an increase of 5 percent for one year, while employers had offered 2.1 percent over two years. The agreement now foresees a first hike of 2.8 percent as of July, to be followed by a second increase of 2 percent in April 2017.

For the time being, the wage agreement only applies to some 700,000 workers in the state of Northrhine-Westfalia. But it is expected to be adopted by trade unions in other German states, too. This means that up to 3.8 million workers at companies like Siemens, ThyssenKrupp and Daimler can count on a pay hike, costing employers around 10 billion euros in additional wage costs this year alone.

The agreement follows a series of token strikes across the country in recent weeks, during which tens of thousands of workers stage brief stoppages in support of their demand.

uhe/kd (Reuters, dpa)