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German Volkswagen staff to get higher wages after industrial action

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Staff Writer | Thursday February 22, 2018 6:49AM ET
Auto industry   120,000 Volkswagen employees in Western Germany

Volkswagen labor and employment representatives reached a company-specific agreement in a wider dispute over collective wages in the German electronics and metal industries.

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According to the settlement, 120,000 Volkswagen employees in Western Germany will receive a pay rise of 4.3 percent from May onwards. Additionally, staff who are employed as shift workers, or act as caregivers to children and relatives, have been granted an extra six days of annual leave.

The solution announced by trade union IG Metall and Volkswagen's management will remain valid until April 2020.

The internal collective wage agreement, which encompasses Volkswagen factories in Emden, Hannover, Wolfsburg, Salzgitter, Braunschweig and Kassel, is the largest company-specific collective agreement in Germany. Prior to Wednesday's agreement, more than 57,000 employees participated in strikes in these locations for the first time in 14 years.

Volkswagen chief negotiator Martin Rosik emphasized that the solution ultimately found would place management and employees in a better position to weather structural change caused by digitalization.

"The arrangement gives us additional flexibility which we urgently need," Rosik told press, adding that it was "a good result for our employees".

"The solution could be exemplary for the entire German industry," said IG Metall chief negotiator Thorsten Groeger. The labor representative described the negotiations as difficult and praised the staff's "incredible mobilization" in holding strikes.

Bernd Osterloh, head of Volkswagen's workers council, also spoke of an "excellent package" and pointed to changes in company pensions that would significantly benefit employees in their old age.


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