January 29, 2018 / 1:00 PM / 6 months ago

German industrial workers gear up for full-day walkouts

DUESSELDORF, Germany, Jan 29 (Reuters) - German union IG Metall released details on Monday of all-day strikes planned at German metals and engineering companies later this week, after last-ditch regional labour talks over wages and working hours failed to reach a deal over the weekend.

Emboldened by the fastest economic growth in six years and record low unemployment, the union is demanding an 8 percent pay rise over 27 months for 3.9 million metals and engineering workers across Germany.

In the populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, IG Metall will call for walkouts at around 70 companies, starting mid-week, Knut Giesler, head of IG Metall’s chapter in that state, said on Monday.

He did not say which companies would be affected. Earlier this month, workers staged short walkouts at carmakers Ford and Daimler and washing machine manufacturer Miele.

Across Germany, more than 250 companies are to be affected, IG Metall has said.

The union has also asked for workers to be given the right to reduce their weekly hours to 28 from 35 to care for children, elderly or sick relatives, and return to full time after two years.

Employers have offered a 6.8 percent increase but have rejected the demand for shorter hours unless they can also increase workers’ hours when necessary. (Reporting by Tom Kaeckehoff; Writing by Maria Sheahan. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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