Around 800 workers at Daimler’s Sprinter plant in Duesseldorf went on strike on Wednesday, engineering trade union IG Metall said. Union spokeswoman Ingrid Gier said the strikes would continue into Thursday.
Engineering industry employers have offered a pay rise of 3% over 14 months. IG Metall has described the proposal as “a provocation” for Europe’s “strongest sector” and is demanding a 6.5% increment.
“Our patience is at an end, we want a 6.5 percent wage increase,” Oliver Burkhard, a regional union leader, said in a statement.
“If employers don’t get moving, then today’s warning strikes will be just the beginning. We’re ready for a fight,” he said.
Martin Kannengiesser, president of Germany’s metal industry association, told tabloid Bild on Wednesday that employers won’t budge from their offer of a 3 per cent raise.
Despite the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis, Germany’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell to 6.7% in March, the lowest level since comparable records started in 1998.
The next rounds of wage talks are scheduled for May 8 and May 15.
Last week, Daimler AG (DAI) reported an unexpected increase in first-quarter profit as record deliveries of Mercedes-Benz cars helped offset higher spending for model introductions and a new factory.
Global revenues rose 9 percent to €27.01 billion and the company sold 9 percent more vehicles worldwide, at 502,086.