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Business

Trade Unions Reject Longer Workweek

German trade union leaders have criticized proposals to increase working hours, saying they would fail to create new jobs and lead to pay cuts. “Anyone proposing longer working days doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” said Jürgen Peters, the head of the IG Metall trade union, which represents workers in the car manufacturing and steel industries. Also opposed to the idea was Michael Sommer, who chairs the German Trade Union Federation. Government officials, opposition and business leaders have suggested adding several hours to the now common 35 to 37-hour workweek to keep Germany’s faltering economy competitive internationally. Not all companies support such a move. Some, such as car maker Opel and telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom, want to shorten the working week to 30 to 34 hours in order to avoid layoffs.