VW workers eye higher pay than the salary increase won by IG Metall union image

Volkswagen Ag. workers are targeting a higher pay rise than the salary increase won by the IG Metall union for about 3.6 million engineering staff.

Volkswagen AG’s top labor representative and deputy supervisory board chairman said Thursday he expects an agreement on staff becoming shareholders to be reached soon.

“A settlement of 4.3 percent over 12 months would be ideal.”

“Talks are progressing well… we’re close to an agreement,” Bernd Osterloh told reporters.

He declined to elaborate as a final decision hasn’t been reached.

Germany’s largest industrial union IG Metall will get its biggest pay rise in 20 years after agreeing to a 4.3-percent pay increase deal with employers.

While wages in the crisis-hit euro zone periphery are falling, German workers are enjoying the benefits of a robust economy and a healthy labour market after a decade of wage restraint, in turn fuelling the economic divergence that has underpinned the currency area’s debt crisis.

Germany’s gross domestic product has grown 3% or more the past two years. It expanded at a 2.1% annualized rate last quarter, vastly outpacing the rest of the euro bloc. Exports were a key growth driver, reflecting competitiveness gains over the past decade when paychecks largely flatlined after accounting for inflation.

The wage increase is part of a larger trend in Germany of rising pay for workers. On March 31, public sector workers were awarded a 6.3 percent wage increase through August 2013. Also, last week, according to the AP, German ministers even helped themselves to a 5.7 percent wage increase over the same time period.