German metals union prepares for wage negotiations

Germany’s IG Metall union has given an early indication of its claims in the next round of regular wage talks with the steel industry. Kallanish understands that the talks will start in November.

Although it does not put a figure to its claims yet, the union alludes to general objectives that workers demand more money and shorter working hours. It cites a poll conducted among 11,000 workers to that effect. The upcoming round covers the northwestern and the eastern chapter of the union, including the main mills of the big groups thyssenkrupp, Salzgitter and ArcelorMittal.

The projected technical transformation of the German steel industry is one new aspect taken into consideration by the union, as it will lead to a reduction of jobs at steel mills. “Future plants will be run with fewer staff, as the blast furnace route will be converted from coke to hydrogen,” says Nils Knierim, one of IG Metall’s negotiators. This is why the union proposes a reduction of working hours, possibly to 32 per week, a key theme in order to maintain jobs.

The last collective bargaining in June 2022 resulted in the strongest wage increase in 30 years, amounting to 6.5%. That agreement runs for 18 months, ending 30 November 2023.

Christian Koehl Germany