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165,000 German metal workers stage warning strikes

2 February, 2015165,000 metal workers from IndustriALL Global Union affiliate IG Metall have staged warning strikes at almost 800 companies across Germany in the past week.

***UPDATE 6 February 2015***  The number of IG Metall members who have held warning strikes has now risen to 360,000.

The work-stoppages come as German trade union, IG Metall, is in the process of negotiating an industry-wide collective bargaining agreement with employers for 2015.

After two rounds of negotiations last month, IG Metall has rejected an offer from the employers' associations of the metal and electrical industries in which they propose a derisory pay increase and a reduction in retirement rights.

The employers have offered a wage increase of 2.2 per cent from 1 March to 31 December 2015, not including the first two months of the year.

IG Metall is demanding wage increases of up to 5.5 per cent for a duration of 12 months.

The employers’ proposal also seeks to reduce the right of partial retirement (where employees have the right to reduce working hours in the final years before retirement) from 4 per cent to 2 per cent of the total number of employees in a company.

Furthermore, only staff with the highest workload would have the option to take partial retirement with employers having exclusive right to decide who can take it. 

The employers have also rejected a call from IG Metall to extend the scope for employees to take paid time off for training and qualifications in the new collective bargaining agreement.

A third round of negotiations will start on 6 February in North-Rhine Westphalia.