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Metalworkers Union Wants Four Percent Pay Hike

Germany's biggest industrial union, IG Metall, said it would seek a pay raise of up to four percent for the country's metal and engineering workers during the next round of wage negotiations set to begin at the beginning of the year. The demand is modest compared to past years--in the last pay round the union entered talks requesting 6.5 percent--and represents unions' weakened position and a toning down of their stridency in the face of a sluggish growth. Announcing the number in Frankfurt, IG Metall head Jürgen Peters said the union would seek a contract lasting 12 months from January. He also said the four percent demand reflected expectations that Europe's biggest economy is on the road to recovery. Employers has responded by saving that a maximum pay hike of 1.4 percent is realistic. Economists have said negotiations would likely lead to a settlement of around two percent.