German workers win right to 28-hour week

Who is usually Angela Merkel?

Millions of German workers are winning the fight for a 28-hour work week.

Labor union IG Metall secured an unprecedented deal This specific week to give a large portion of its 2.3 million members more flexible working hours as well as a big pay rise.

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coming from next year, workers at many of Germany’s top engineering firms — such as Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler (DDAIF) — can opt to work 28 hours a week for up to two years, before returning to the standard 35-hour week.

The deal was negotiated with representatives of more than 700 companies in southwest Germany. of which is usually likely to have ripple effects across German industry.

“This specific sets the standard for everyone else,” said Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife Asset Management.

IG Metall said the flexibility could help employees who want to care for children or relatives. Pay will be reduced to reflect the shorter working week. The deal also gives workers the option to work 40 hours to earn more.

German workers are taking advantage of low unemployment as well as strong economic growth to flex their muscles.

“You can expect similar deals to come in some other sectors as well as regions soon,” said Famke Krumbmüller, a partner at OpenCitiz, a political risk consultancy.

as well as non-unionized workers could also benefit coming from the agreement as firms of which employ IG Metall workers offer the same terms to their wider workforce.

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Daimler said of which could offer the brand-new flexible hours to all its employees starting in 2019, yet noted of which already offered many flexible working options.

Bosch, which employs 138,000 people in Germany, said of which could offer the same pay rises as well as perks to the majority of its German workers. of which said the flexible hours wouldn’t be disruptive.

“Bosch already has about 100 different working hour designs to ensure an optimum work-life balance,” said Simon Schmitt, a company spokesperson.

yet some other companies may find of which harder to swallow. Südwestmetall — the employers’ association of which agreed the deal — said of which was a compromise with some “painful elements.” of which could be “hard to bear for many firms,” of which added.

Südwestmetall spokesperson Volker Steinmaier said the shorter working week could lead to labor shortages. However, most workers are likely to want to work extra hours to make more money, he said.

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“A couple of companies [already] give their employees a choice to work 30, 35 as well as 40 [hours]. Most of the employees choose to work longer as well as earn more,” he said.

Germany’s surging economy could be the ultimate winner as workers covered by the deal go out as well as spend more.

IG Metall said its members could get a 4.3% raise, starting in April. of which equates to a rise of about 3.5% on average in 2018, according to Florian Hense, an economist at Berenberg bank.

“This specific is usually not bad for workers,” said Hense. “They [will] see their pay rise by far more than inflation. This specific raises their disposable income as well as spending power.”

sy88pgw (London) First published February 7, 2018: 11:25 AM ET

German workers win right to 28-hour week

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