German union seeks 8% wage increase for industrial workers

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s biggest industrial union said Monday it will seek an 8% wage increase for millions of manufacturing workers in upcoming pay talks, a demand that is just above the country’s current inflation rate.

The IG Metall union’s demand comes as Chancellor Olaf Scholz seeks to find ways with unions and employers to address the impact of rising prices while preventing an inflationary spiral. Germany has Europe’s biggest economy.

In Germany, wage deals are typically hammered out in negotiations between employers’ organizations and unions that cover a whole industrial sector. IG Metall negotiates for workers in the auto and machinery industries among others, with a total of more than 3.8 million workers.

Negotiations are due to begin in mid-September.

IG Metall chairman Joerg Hofmann said that “the economy needs rising incomes and stable consuption as an existential support.” He argued that most companies are doing well in terms of both orders and earnings, and that “companies can pass on rising costs (but) employees can’t.”

Germany’s annual inflation rate stood at 7.6% in June, slightly below the half-century high of 7.9% it reached the previous month.

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