GERMAN INDUSTRIAL UNION SEEKS 5.5 PERCENT RAISE

BERLIN (AP) – Germany’s largest industrial union is calling for a 5.5 percent pay increase next year for some 3.7 million workers in Europe’s biggest economy.

The IG Metall union’s leadership made the recommendation Tuesday ahead of negotiations in January.

The figure is well above Germany’s 0.8 percent annual inflation rate but union chairman Detlef Wetzel pointed to high corporate earnings and forecasts of growth. He argued that “it is also urgently needed to strengthen domestic demand.”

IG Metall represents workers in the automobile and machinery industries, among others. In Germany, wage deals are generally negotiated on a sector-wide basis.

In the last deal in mid-2013, IG Metall secured a 3.4 percent raise that was followed this May by a further 2.2 percent. It originally sought a 5.5 percent raise over one year.

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