24 February, 2015German metalworkers’ union, IG Metall, has succeeded in securing a 3.4 per cent pay rise in a deal with employers following warning strikes by more than 850,000 workers nationwide.
The agreement was reached in the early hours of 24 February between IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, IG Metall, and employers’ groups.
The deal, which affects 800,000 metal and electronics workers in the key German industrial region of Baden-Württemberg, will provide the basis for bargaining agreements in other regions across the country covering a total 3.7 million workers.
The pay rise is due to take effect in April and marks an important victory for the union:
“With this result we are bringing stability to the German economy,” said IG Metall’s president Detlef Wetzel.
More than 850,000 IG Metall workers from all over the country staged warning strikes from the end of January as union leaders and employers’ groups battled over pay and benefits for the next 12 months.
Workers will also be paid a one-off payment of 150 Euros to cover January to March following the end of the previous collective agreement.
Further gains were made in relation to early retirement, in particular for lower paid workers. In the future, employers will pay 90 per cent of salaries while workers work through a period of early retirement, which will then be continued once they have stopped work and up until their official retirement age. It means that early retirement will be more affordable for lower income employees, particularly on assembly lines and in general production.
In addition, money not used by companies in funding early retirement (which must be accessible to a minimum of 4 per cent of the workforce), must now be used to pay for staff training schemes.
The IG Metall president marked the progress as “the first important step” in establishing a model for workers’ rights for career development.
IndustriALL’s assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan said:
“We congratulate IG Metall on this considerable achievement. IG Metall has once again shown its muscle and won a significant pay rise for workers in the metal and electronics sector. The massive support from close to a million workers in a series of warning strikes is a tribute to the power of worker solidarity.”