COLOGNE (Reuters) – A German union seeking a pay rise for 3.6 million engineering workers, rejected on Wednesday a pay rise offer of 3 percent presented by employers and said it was likely to start token strikes to back its pay claim.
The IG Metall union representing 700,000 workers in the most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, home to plants from automakers including Ford and Opel, is demanding a 6.5 percent pay rise nationally for the sector.
"My view is that this is not a proposal that will resolve the issue," said Oliver Burkhard, the leader of the IG Metall chapter and the union's point man in negotiations. A union official said they now expected token strikes to be staged.
On Thursday, engineering employers in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, home to carmakers such as Daimler and Porsche, will meet with local IG Metall to discuss preliminary wage talks.
While wages in the eurozone's crisis-hit periphery are falling, German workers are enjoying the benefits of a robust economy after a decade of wage restraint.
Last month the 2 million workers in Germany's public sector won a 6.3 percent pay rise over a 24-month period.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet also approved on Wednesday a rise in pensions of 2.2 percent, roughly in line with inflation, at a time when payouts to retirees are under pressure across parts of Europe.
ANE contributed to this report