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Steelworkers at Salzgitter (photo from 2018): Entry into the four-day week?

Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/ dpa

The first industry is negotiating a four-day week with full pay: IG Metall is not only demanding a wage increase of 8.5 percent in the northwestern German steel industry, but also wants to have the weekly working time reduced to 32 hours – with full wage compensation.

The term should be around twelve months, the union announced after a meeting of the collective bargaining commission in Duisburg. "This reduction in working hours would thus be the start of the four-day week, which will be possible in many areas," said the district head of IG Metall NRW and chief negotiator, Knut Giesler. The employers immediately rejected the demands.

The peace obligation for the approximately 68,000 employees ends on 30 November. A reduction in working hours from 35 to 32 hours per week with full wage compensation would lead to an increase in hourly wages of 8.6 percent, criticized the steel employers' association. Together with the required increase in fees by 8.5 percent, this results in a total volume of 17.1 percent. This would finally overwhelm the performance of the German steel industry and endanger its existence.

IG Metall went into the last round with the demand for a wage increase of 8.2 percent, the agreement was 6.5 percent. The industry includes steelmakers from Thyssenkrupp, Salzgitter and ArcelorMittal.