German metal workers negotiate pay hikes after all-night talks

(L-R) Joerg Hofmann, first chairman of IG Metall, Roman Zitzelsberger, district manager of IG Metall Baden-Wuerttemberg, Harald Marquardt, vice chairman of Suedwestmetall, and Stefan Wolf, president of Gesamtmetall, talk after a press conference presenting the results of the collective bargaining in the metal and electrical industry. An agreement has been reached in the wage dispute in the metal and electrical industry. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa

Members of key German metal and electricity unions are set to get pay raises in the next two years, after a marathon negotiating session concluded in a deal early on Friday.

The union’s 3.9 million workers can expect a 5.2% pay raise starting in June and then another 3.3% raise in May 2024. The deal also includes tax-free one-time payments of up to €3,000 ($3,100).

IG Metall union boss Jörg Hofmann said this would amount to an average pay boost of 8.5% during the course of two years, or about €7,000 for an average worker.

There had been fears that no deal would be reached, following four previous rounds of unsuccessful talks. Strike preparations had been made, in case nothing came out of this round.

As it was, these talks started on Thursday, went for 12 hours and included threats that at least one side might walk away from the table.

Stefan Wolf, head of the Gesamtmetall union called it a “healthy advance” on a hoped-for upswing, but noted that the final agreement still fell short of what the unions had hoped for and did not reflect pay needs given the current situation.

Inflation in Germany has hit double digits, reaching a high of 10.4% in October, driven by a surge in energy costs.

IG Metall had entered the talks demanding an 8% pay raise within a year, which was countered with an offer for a one-time payment of €3,000.



Courtesy © dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH