German metal workers win 4.3-percent pay rise | News | DW | 19.05.2012
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German metal workers win 4.3-percent pay rise

The threat of an all-out strike in Germany's metal-working industry appears to be over after the IG Metall union won a 4.3-percent pay rise. The regional deal is expected to set a precedent for the industry nationwide.

Engineering workers in south-western Germany have won a 4.3-percent pay rise over the next 13 months.

The deal agreed between management and the IG Metall union during marathon talks just outside of Stuttgart, which dragged into the early hours of Saturday, ends weeks of partial walkouts and warning strikes.

Management had previously offered a 2.6-percent pay rise, while the union had been demanding 6.5 percent.

Although the deal only applies to workers in the state of Baden-Würtemberg it is expected to set a precedent for all of the 3.6 million workers employed in Germany's metal-working and electronics sector. It also effectively removes the threat of the sector's first full-blown strike in a decade. Baden-Württemberg is home to several large manufacturers including the carmaker Daimler.

Rising wages a trend in Germany

The deal follows an even bigger pay rise of 6.3 percent for the two million workers in Germany's public sector earlier this year.

These pay rises come in stark contrast to many other countries in the crisis-ridden eurozone, where wages have been falling.

The latest deal comes just days after Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble told the weekly newsmagazine Focus that German workers deserved to earn more.

"It's normal that salaries rise more quickly here than in other EU countries," Schäuble said. "We have years of reforms behind us, and by raising pay, Germany would help reduce economic imbalances in Europe."

pfd/ch (dpa, Reuters)