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Are German Makers Heading for Crippling Strike?

Contract talks break down over union wage demands.

by on May.21, 2012

Could German automakers be heading for a strike?

Talks between German industrial employers, including major carmakers, and Europe’s largest industrial union, IG Metall, are now at an impasse.

Talks are resuming, but so far five rounds of negotiations have produced little movement and a round of warning strike earlier this month at several companies, including Porsche, BMW and Daimler, suggest that the powerful union is gearing up for a confrontation.

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Despite the German economy showing signs of slow growth, the giant German union is pushing for a 6.5% pay increase. In addition, the union negotiators appear to have taken a stand on placing limits on the use of contract workers and subcontractors in auto plants in southern Germany operated by Porsche, Daimler and BMW. Like other carmakers around the world, German manufacturers have used subcontractors to offset high labor costs.


Forget Concessions, German Auto Workers Demanding Massive Pay Hikes

Unions warn of serious confrontations.

by on May.10, 2012

A BMW 5-Series model rolls down the assembly line near Munich.

German carmakers are negotiating new contracts with unions representing employees in what have become the most confrontational wage talks in well over a decade.

German unions negotiate with employer groups in different regions of the country IG Metall, the German metalworkers union staged a brief, one-day warning strike around Stuttgart, the home of Daimler AG and Porsche.

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Warning strikes are a ritual part of labor negotiations in German but this year they have an extra edge and union leaders have warned of more serious confrontations next week if the car makers and major supplier, such as Bosch, don’t meeting their wage demands.

The unions are looking for a hefty 6.5% wage increase this year and they gained some extra leverage when the major public employee union in Germany negotiated a substantial pay increase.