Top German union calls for 5.5% pay rise
IG Metall, Germany's most powerful union, called Tuesday for a 5.5-percent pay rise for metalworkers in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, setting the tone for annual pay talks across the country.
IG Metall's regional branch said that a large majority of its wage committee had voted in favour of calling for 5.5 percent more pay for the 740,000 metalworkers in the southwestern state.
The demand would be finalised on March 13 ahead of the first round of pay talks on March 21, the union said in a statement.
Traditionally, the annual pay round for the 3.7 million workers in Germany's electrical, engineering, automobile and metalworking sectors is held on a regional basis, with one region acting as a benchmark for all the others.
"We want to provide impetus for purchasing power," said the head of IG Metall's Baden-Wuerttemberg branch, Joerg Hofmann.
"2012 was a good year for companies in the sector. Revenues, recruitment and profits are all the yardsticks of success to which workers contributed a significant part. And that is not expected to change in 2013," Hofmann said.
Last year, following a number of very lean years in the wake of the financial and economic crisis, IG Metall was able able to secure a 4.3-percent pay rise for its members compared with an initial demand of 6.5 percent.
The pay talks in the metal-working sector also set the tone for other areas of industry.
The European Central Bank aims to keep inflation close to, but below two percent and has praised German unions for their pay restraint.
© 2013 AFP