IG Metall Trade Union Stages Walk-outs At Many European Plants

Walk-outs at DamilerChrysler, Siemens, Gillette and others.

Thousands of workers downed tools April 30 after the IG Metall trade union called strikes to step up pressure for wage talks in the electrical, engineering and metalworking sectors. About 900 workers walked off the nightshift at a DaimlerChrysler plant in Duesseldorf, a union spokeswoman said. In the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, 800 striking staff brought work at the DaimlerChrysler plant in Rastatt to a halt.

Staff picketed on April 30 morning at a Siemens factor in Duisburg while other protests were planned in Vreden, Bocholt, Krefeld and Recklinghausen.

Around 300 staff stopped work at razor-maker Gillette in Berlin, joined by 100 at fan manufacturer Mahle and 100 workers at auto parts maker Faurecia.

IG Metall has been locked in talks with employers for several weeks to hike salaries for the 3.4 million workers it represents but the negotiations have made little headway. The union is demanding a 6.5% salary increase while management groups are broadly offering a 2.5% increase and a 0.5% bonus hike.

IG Metall has threatened broad-based strikes from mid-May if employers refuse to budge in the negotiations. A key fifth round of wage talks is to start May 3 in Baden-Wuerttemberg that could set the tone for a sector-wide agreement.

The outcome of the IG Metall wage negotiations usually serves as a benchmark for wage increases in other sectors.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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