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Europe

German Press Review: IG Metall Wage Deal

German papers on Friday commented on the wage deal struck between the IG Metall trade union and engineering industry employers.

Commenting on the swift and happy end to the engineering industry wage negotiations, the Berliner Kurier said that sometimes things happen a little differently to how one expects them to. Both sides agreed that a long drawn out strike would have been more damaging then a bad result in the pay round the paper noted. "So both sides tucked their shirts in to come up with a deal whereby no one loses face," it wrote. "The economy will thank both!"

"A good signal has come from the state of Baden-Württemberg" proclaimed the Express in Cologne. The paper said the fact that the bargaining parties, in these difficult economic times, proved to be strong and willing to compromise has strengthened the trust in free collective bargaining and hoped that other unions will follow suit.

The Handelsblatt in Düsseldorf was more critical of deal. The paper said it's obvious that making peace with the union was more important for the engineering industry than taking responsibility for employment issues. The unemployed are the big losers in this deal the paper argued. "The best thing that can be said about this pay round is that a damaging strike was avoided." But the paper warned the deal could spell danger for the growing economy. "If the other industry's use the Metal pay round as an example like they normally do, 2004 could pan out to be a year of disappointments," it wrote.

Die Welt was of the opinion that the winner of this round is the IG Metall trade union. The employers have not achieved what they wanted and the pay rise is much too high, the paper said. "New jobs won't be created as a result, for that to have happened the pay rise should have been one percent lower."