Striking German steelworkers win 3.6-percent raise: union

30th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Tens of thousands of German steelworkers who have staged warning strikes over the past week have secured a 3.6-percent wage rise, trade union IG Metall said on Thursday.

The agreement covers 85,000 workers in northern and western Germany and was expected to be extended nationwide. It also includes a one-off payment of 150 euros (204 dollars).

The union had pressed for a six-percent wage increase, more than four times the rate of inflation in Europe's top economy.

IG Metall also said that temporary workers would receive equal pay, one of its central demands.

German firms across all sectors have made increasing use of temporary workers in recent years as they are cheaper and far easier to lay off.

Part of the reason that German exporters have performed better than European rivals in recent years is that workers have received only moderate wage increases, allowing firms to undercut competitors on price.

Now that Europe's biggest economy is showing strong signs of recovery after suffering last year its worst recession in the postwar era, however, unions are pressing for larger pay increases.

© 2010 AFP

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