(Adds details, comment from trade union, employers)
DUESSELDORF, Germany, March 17 Around 72,000
German steel workers will get a 2.3 percent pay hike from April,
and another 1.7 percent from next May in a deal struck
overnight, one of several sectors in Europe's largest economy to
give workers a solid wage rise this year.
The deal, which runs until the end of 2018, was reached for
steelworkers in northwestern Germany after a third round of
negotiations in the western city of Duesseldorf between
employers' group Arbeitgeberverband Stahl and trade union IG
"With this wage result, employees are receiving a fair share
of the economic success of the sector," IG Metall leader Joerg
Hofmann said on Friday.
IG Metall had called for employees at firms like
Thyssenkrupp und Salzgitter to get 4.5
percent more wages over the course of 12 months.
Employers had only agreed to a 1.3 percent rise during the
last round of negotiations but thousands of steel workers have
since exerted pressure by carrying out warning strikes.
Andreas Goss, head of Stahl and of Thyssenkrupp Europe, said
a lower increase would have been preferable, but that had not
been possible due to improving prospects for the steel industry,
higher pay deals in other sectors and accelerating inflation.
In February, Germany's federal states agreed with trade
unions a two-stage wage increase of 4.35 percent for more than
two million civil servants and other public sector employees.
Private consumption helped the German economy to grow 1.9
percent in 2016 and economists expect domestic demand to drive
growth this year thanks to record-high employment, increased job
security, rising wages and rock-bottom borrowing costs.
(Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff; Writing by Michelle Martin and
Emma Thomasson; Editing by Nick Macfie and Pritha Sarkar)