Half a million metalworkers participate in strikes in Germany
3 February 2018
On Friday, the all-day warning strikes in the metal and electrical industries concluded. According to the IG Metall trade union, assembly lines were shut down at 97 companies, with around 304,000 employees. Overall, more than 500,000 workers participated in the 24-hour strike that began Wednesday.
In both Bavaria and in Baden-Wurttemberg, the entire auto industry was shut down Friday. Workers went on strike at numerous shipyards and in the Airbus plants in Hamburg, Bremen and Lower Saxony. In addition, more than 56,000 employees at Volkswagen sites in Wolfsburg, Salzgitter, Braunschweig, Kassel, Emden and Hanover stopped working temporarily.
The determination of workers to fight the companies is enormous. IG Metall limited the strike votes to just under 280 selected companies, but everywhere the call for strike action reached 95 to 100 percent support. Workers are resisting years of wage-cutting and increased workloads that have brought billions to executives and shareholders. For example, the Daimler Group reported record sales and net income on February 1. Shareholders alone were promised dividends of up to €4 billion.
However, IG Metall is equally determined to reach a sell-out deal with the companies. On Friday, union leader Jörg Hofmann declared: “Now it’s up to the employers to understand this signal and put it on a clear footing. If the employers show this willingness, the negotiations can be continued on Monday.” According to a report by the Stuttgarter Nachrichten, the unions and employers have already agreed to continue negotiations on Monday to quickly conclude the pilot contract for Baden-Württemberg….