German workers to stage 24-hour strikes

German workers to stage 24-hour strikes

STUTTGART-Reuters
German workers to stage 24-hour strikes

Powerful German union IG Metall has called for all-day walkouts by industrial workers across the country next week, hampering the production of cars, car parts and machinery, after last-ditch regional labor talks failed to reach a deal.

“We have to step up the pressure on employers in the coming days so that they show some willingness to compromise,” IG Metall chief Joerg Hofmann told journalists in a news conference on Jan. 27.

IG Metall said it saw no point in further talks during the planned walkouts, but said it was in principle willing to resume negotiations if employers showed a willingness to make concessions.

If not, the union’s leadership will prepare to ballot workers for extended strikes that could hit Germany’s industrial output.

Nearly a million workers have already taken part in short walkouts across the country this month to support IG Metall’s demands for higher pay and the right to shortened working hours, but employers have warned that 24-hour strikes could pose a serious risk to companies.

“Twenty-four hour strikes would indeed be painful,” a spokesman for BMW said ahead of the latest round of talks, adding extended walkouts could disrupt production not only at the carmaker but also at suppliers.

Three hours of stoppages at BMW’s Munich factory on Jan. 24 resulted in 250 cars not being assembled, it said.

Premium rival Audi, owned by Volkswagen, also said it was trying to catch up after around 700 vehicles were not assembled as a result of two stoppages at its Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm factories this week.

IG Metall’s call for all-day strikes comes after union leaders and employers in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, home to companies such as Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler and sports car firm Porsche, failed to reach agreement in 16 hours of talks overnight.

German workers, stage, 24 hours