German trade union IG Metall called on Sept. 8 for a pay hike of 7-8% for the 3.5 million employees in the metalworking, electrical engineering and automaking sectors.
IG Metall chief Berthold Huber said that the demand was justified by the strength of firms in those key sectors, a rise in the cost of living and the need to give workers a fair share of profits.
The union's local chapters will debate the leadership's recommendation and announce its final pay demand later this month. Wage talks will start in October.
The salary accord for employees at giants of the German economy such as BMW, Siemens and Infineon tends to set the tone for wage talks in other sectors.
After several years of moderate pay rises in an anemic economy, the German trade unions have agitated for a dramatic improvement in pay. The result has been a 5.2% wage increase in the steel industry, a 4.4% hike in the chemicals sector and a 5.1% pay rise this year and 2.8% next year in the public sector. But the accords came before the German economy began to stumble. The European Central Bank has repeatedly warned against steep wage increases that could fuel inflation.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008