The German auto parts and power tools group Bosch decided on Oct. 26 to raise pay for 85,000 workers two months early to thank them for concessions which have helped turn the company's results around.
Bosch managers and its supervisory board decided to apply a 2.7% wage increase in February 2011 instead of in April.
As the German economy, the biggest in Europe, steams ahead wage demands have grown, with unions noting they had agreed to keep quiet while Germany was in its worst recession for six decades.
"In difficult times we benefited from the strong loyalty of our staff, which was not a given," the Bosch statement quoted personnel director Wolfgang Malchow as saying. "We owe all our heartfelt thanks."
Bosch also benefited from a state-subsidized shorter working hours scheme that allowed companies to keep staff employed and be prepared for when the economy picked up again, as it has this year.
The government forecasts economic growth of 3.4% in 2010, the same level as in 2006 and the strongest rate since Germany was reunified in 1990.
At Bosch, 65,000 workers were affected by the scheme, including 4,300 who were still working shorter hours at the end of September.
Since 2008, the number of people employed by Bosch in Germany has fallen by 3% to 110,000 and by 2.4% worldwide to 275,000.
In 2009 the world's leading auto parts maker posted its first loss since World War II, of 1.2 billion euros (US$1.7 billion.)
It forecasts a "clearly positive" result this year however on sales that are expected to climb by around 20% to 46 billion euros.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010