German union seeks 5 per cent raise for millions of workers

BERLIN – Germany’s biggest industrial union is seeking a 5 per cent pay raise for some 3.8 million workers in Europe’s biggest economy.

IG Metall’s demand Monday comes ahead of negotiations starting March 9 for employees in the automobile and machinery sectors among others. The union is seeking a 12-month deal.

Germany’s annual inflation rate fell to zero in February from 0.5 per cent the previous month, according to an official estimate. However, IG Metall argues that companies’ earnings are healthy and wage increases help strengthen domestic demand, and economic growth.

Last year, the union secured a 3.4 per cent pay increase for industrial workers after going into negotiations with a call for a 5.5 per cent raise.

The German economy grew by 1.7 per cent last year and is expected to repeat that performance this year.