Germany's powerful IG Metall labor union said Feb. 26 it would call for wage increases of 6.5% for the 3.4 million workers in the German engineering and metalworking industry in upcoming wage talks next month. "In view of the ongoing boom in the metal-working industry, our demand is socially justified, economically necessary and affordable for the companies," IG Metall Juergen Peters said.
Sedom had companies in the sector earned so much, but paid out so little in wages, the union chief said. IG Metall calculates that wages make up only 16.4% of a company's sales.
Meanwhile, employers have raised the specter of job cuts if wage demands are too steep. Earlier this month, employers signaled they did not want wage rises this year to exceed the 3% deal agreed last year. "The last wage deal was already too high," the head of the VDMA machine tool makers' association, Dieter Brucklacher, said in a recent interview.
Output in the sector has risen by 18% overall in the past three years and is forecast to rise by 4.5%-5.5% this year.
According to its calculations, IG Metall estimated that wages would have to rise at least 4.1% just to keep pace with inflation and productivity -- with inflation projected to stand at 2.3% and productivity forecast to rise by 1.8% in 2007.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007