German union demands six-percent pay rise

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A branch of German union IG Metall, one of Europe's biggest trade unions, demanded Friday a six-percent pay rise, the opening salvo in what is expected to be long and drawn-out salary negotiations.

Making the demand for some 85,000 workers in the steel industry, which often serves as a precedent on the national level, the union said it was time workers joined in the fruits of the upswing after years of wage moderation.

"All employees must profit from the upturn. During the crisis, we succeeded in securing jobs and income," said Oliver Burkhard, a senior union official.

Germany, Europe's economic powerhouse, has enjoyed a stellar bounce after a crippling recession during the global slump.

Output in the second three months of the year was 2.2 percent higher than in the same period the year before and the central bank has predicted annual growth of three percent.

However, economists believe the engine is set to lose some steam in the second half of the year, which will likely complicate the pay talks.

© 2010 AFP

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