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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.

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