German IG Metall OK for 4.3 pct wage deal, vow to take on Opel image

Germany’s largest industrial union IG Metall reached a deal for a 4.3-percent pay increase with employers, after an all-night negotiating session ended early on Saturday, officials said at a news conference.

The collective bargaining agreement between IG Metall union and employers in southern Baden-Wuerttemberg state — home to carmakers Daimler and Porsche — includes the raise, secures the position of trainees and limits the use of temporary workers.

It ends weeks of partial walk-outs and warning strikes to press home the union’s demands for a 6.5 percent pay rise. Employers had previously offered a pay rise of just under 2.6 percent.

Although the deal only applies to workers in the state of Baden-Würtemberg it is expected to set a precedent for all of the 3.6 million workers employed in Germany’s metal-working and electronics sector.
Yet hot on the heels of the agreement came a specific conflict between the union and General Motors over fears that an Opel factory in Bochum could be closed.

“We are in a position to lead a very tough conflict with Opel and FM,” said Armin Schild, leader of IG Metall Frankfurt.

“Opel and GM managers should know in advance what they are letting themselves in for,” he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Saturday.

The automaker will build an updated version of the Opel Astra compact car at a plant in Ellesmere Port, England, while ending production of the model at its Ruesselsheim, Germany, factory, which GM said will remain in full use.

However, the U.S. based automaker didn’t say what it plans to do with its factory in Bochum, Germany, which has been regarded as a candidate for shuttering.