The IG Metall board of directors has fixed the strategy for the forthcoming pay round in 2004 with its core demand being a four percent wage and salary increase for the 3.5 million employees of the metal industry and electrical industry. The trade union’s deputy leader, Berthold Huber, described the decision to demand four percent as “the middle ground” after the meeting of the powerful organization’s management on Thursday in Frankfurt. Huber told reporters that the figure fell between the demands of some currently successful automotive industry companies and those of businesses experiencing problems. In addition, the board of directors re-confirmed their opposition against a lengthening of working hours. "We will not agree to longer working hours," stressed IG Metall head Jürgen Peters.