Following weeks of bitter fighting, a wage agreement for the German metal and electrical industries has finally been struck. Employees were able to secure higher wages and more flexible working hours.
A wage agreement was reached in the early hours on Tuesday in Germany's metal and electrical industries.
The powerful IG Metall union announced the deal initially covering workers in the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg, but expected to be eventually implemented for a total of 3.9 million workers in the sector nationwide.
According to the deal, employees are to receive a pay hike of 4.3 percent from April this year. Additionally, monthly one-off payments of €100 ($124) were agreed for January through March.
Employers and trade union representatives also agreed on the possibility of workers reducing their hours from 35 to 28 hours per week for two years, should they need to look after children or care for older relatives.
Employers for their part will be able to ask other staff to increase their hours beyond 40 hours a week voluntarily, which union representatives say many workers are keen to do to make more money.
The head of the Gesamtmetall union umbrella organization, Rainer Dulger, called the wage agreement "the cornerstone of a flexible system of work for the 21st century."
The deal will be evaluated after two years to see whether adjustments need to be made.
The wage agreement was hard-fought. The IG Metall union launched a series of warning strikes in recent weeks in pursuit of its original demand of a 6-percent pay rise.
hg/jd (dpa, Reuters)