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German metalworkers union secures 5.5% wage hike

, December 18, 2023, 0 Comments

IG Metall struck an agreement guaranteeing compensation payouts, shorter work-weeks and job guarantees. The union has yet to negotiate deals for worker in the east and in Saarland on the French border.

german-metalworkers-union-wage-marketexpress-inGermany’s IG Metall, Europe’s largest industrial union, announced on Saturday reaching a new wage agreement for some 68,000 workers in north-western Germany.

The announcement comes after calls for a 24-hour strike in the north-western city of Duisburg.

The agreement was reached in the fifth round of talks. It follows a 14-hour round in Dusseldorf and a series of strikes which began after the former pay deal expired at the end of November.

What do we know about the deal?

The deal includes an inflation compensation payout of €3,000 (approximately $3,270). It also includes a 5.5% wage boost, effective as of January 1, 2025, and until September 30, 2025.

As per the deal, workers will also have job guarantees against changes in the sector, such as transitioning from coking coal to hydrogen to meet demands to cut carbon emissions.

The union also managed to reduce standard working hours to 32 per week, down from 35. However, it failed to maintain full pay; full-time employees who work 32 hours will instead be paid for 33 hours.

Germany’s north-western Ruhr region in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) was historically where the majority of the country’s coal and steel industries were concentrated. It remains to this day among Europe’s most densely populated areas.

Separate talks between employers and IG Metall on behalf of some 8,000 workers in eastern Germany are set to begin on December 18, while talks for some 15,000 workers in Saarland — close to the French border — are scheduled for the end of February next year.