Steelworkers reach new wage agreement

Some 85,000 steel industry workers in northwestern Germany will get a raise this autumn after their unions reached an agreement with employers on Thursday morning.

Steelworkers reach new wage agreement
Photo: DPA

The new pact came after a long-running wage dispute that included several strikes.

Beginning in October, salaries will be increased by 3.6 percent, the head of the employers’ group, Bernhard Strippelmann, said.

Steelworkers will also receive a one-off payment of €150, while apprentices will see a monthly increase of €40.

The contract, which also included new payment agreements for temporary workers, will be valid for 14 months.

Small details still need to be confirmed, Strippelmann said.

The workers’ union IG Metall had been demanding a salary increase of six percent on the grounds that Germany’s economy is improving.

As the first major wage negotiations since the end of the financial crisis, the process has been carefully observed by other industries. Their outcome could be a template for upcoming negotiations with chemical industry, construction and retail workers in early 2011.


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Strikes hit Amazon in Germany in the run up to Christmas

Around 2,500 Amazon employees at seven sites across Germany were on strike on Tuesday and unions warned stoppages could continue up to Christmas.

Amazon parcel in factory
A parcel rolls along a conveyor belt at an Amazon packing facility in Gera, Thuringia. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Bodo Schackow

The strikes at so-called “fulfilment” centres, where Amazon prepares packages before delivery, began in two locations on Monday.

The Verdi union is calling on Amazon for an “immediate” salary increase of three percent this year, followed by a further 1.7 percent next year, in line with a collective agreement for the retail sector, to which the e-commerce giant does not adhere.

Amazon could not continue to “refuse wage increases that other companies in the sector pay”, Verdi retail head Orhan Akman said in a statement Monday.

Amazon, which operates 17 centres in Germany, argues it is a logistics company, a sector in which the terms of work are considered to be less burdensome for the employer.

Amazon said it did not expect the strike to have an impact on clients.

However, a Verdi spokesman said the stoppage could cause disruption, particularly in Amazon’s rapid-delivery “Prime” offering.

Strikes were likely to continue “until the end of the year”, the spokesman said, impacting on the busy Christmas shopping period.


Verdi, which first called for strikes at Amazon in May 2013, organised demonstrations outside the fulfilment centres on Tuesday to protest poor working conditions.

Amazon — which has seen its business boom during the coronavirus pandemic as consumers increasingly shopped online — announced in September that it would open eight new centres in Germany, creating 3,000 jobs by 2022.