Bosch thanks workers with an early pay rise
The German auto parts and power tools group Bosch decided Tuesday 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-percent wage increase in February 2011 instead of in April, a statement said.
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."
Helga Schwitzer from the IG Metall trade union said the decision "is fair, workers will thus share in the growth."
Stronger output has returned "in surprisingly rapid fashion" to the auto sector and other companies should take similar decisions, a union statement added.
On Friday, the works committee at Daimler, which owns Mercedes-Benz, called for an early pay raise there, urging the auto maker to demonstrate "proof of its flexibility as well in good times."
Bosch and Daimler also benefited from a state-subsidised 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 percent 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.
In 2009 the world's leading auto parts maker posted its first loss since World War II, of 1.2 billion euros (1.7 billion dollars).
It forecasts a "clearly positive" result this year however on sales that are expected to climb by around 20 percent to 46 billion euros.
© 2010 AFP