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German steel and iron workers to go on strike

German steel and iron workers to go on strike
A warning strike by IG Metall employees taking place in Berlin in November 2022. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Gerald Matzka

German steel and iron workers will go on strike Friday to press their demands for hefty pay increases, a union said, the latest walkouts to hit Europe's biggest economy.

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Some 300 workers will walk out at three sites operated by ArcelorMittal, Thyssenkrupp and Deutsche Edelstahlwerke for several hours in the morning.

It will mark the start of a series of strikes that is "set to intensify over the coming weeks," warned a spokesman for union IG Metall, as workers in many sectors push for higher pay to offset rising prices.

There are also a series of events taking place late Thursday ahead of the strikes, including speeches and marches, in several towns in northwest
Germany, the heart of the country's steel and iron industry.

IG Metall is seeking an 8.5 percent increase in salaries for the workers over a 12-month period -- similar to a deal that the union won for workers in the metal and electrical sectors a year ago.

The union is also calling for a reduction in steel and iron workers' hours to 32 a week, from the current 40, without any pay cuts.

So far, their companies have offered a 3.1 percent increase over 15 months but rejected the demand for shorter working hours.

Europe's traditional economic powerhouse has faced widespread strikes over the past year, from the railways to the aviation sector.

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