German Autoworkers Threaten Strike

John Horner
by John Horner
german autoworkers threaten strike

No good deed, or lucky bet, goes unpunished. Germany’s auto makers are crying poor at the bargaining table at the same time Porsche-VW is crowing about record gambling profits. Against this background, the AP reports that “IG Metall is seeking an 8 percent raise for the 3.6 million workers it represents in the metal and electronic industries.” Germany’s auto industry has the lion’s share of IG Metall workers. Didn’t the union bosses in Sindelfingen get the word about Automotive Armageddon? Apparently the union guys have taken a page from the Gospel of CEO’s and can only see the massive profits German industry has run up in recent years. “IG Metall has defended its requested wage hike as justified because companies’ profits increased 220 percent between 2004-2007– a time when wages effectively increased by only 8.7 percent– union leader Berthold Huber has also indicated they would accept less.” Ah, the dirty little secret of modern times has been, up until a few months ago, the massive run-up in corporate profits and executive pay happened while workers got next to zero share of the growing pie. When times were good, the excuse for giving little was global competition. When times are bad, the excuse is “can’t afford it.” Meanwhile, the burghermeisters continue to live large and the pain of recession falls on the masses. Tune in tomorrow for more of the same.

Join the conversation
4 of 10 comments
  • Charly Charly on Nov 11, 2008

    Selling the malibu in Europe would be a disaster. Not for the Malibu but because it would show that Chevrolet is American and not Korean. And American cars have a really bad name in Europe

  • Tom Tom on Nov 11, 2008

    @charly: I really doubt that. American cars might not have the best reputation in Europe, but I'd say that people know that at least Ford is American and it didn't hurt them in the least. I think GM actually made a big mistake when the renamed Daewoo into Chevrolet, because now an American brand is equated with crappy little econoboxes. And people know that Chevy is American, GM tried to sell Chevrolets on that platform...when the Dollar hit an all time low, Chevy used that as an argument to lure people into their showrooms... Personally, I think that GM shouldn't have introduced Chevrolet in Europe. Most people there probably thought of big American cars from the 1950s when they heard Chevy and they had a positive that has changed...and for what? To cannibalize on Opel sales? Doesn't make a lot of sense...then again, we're talking about GM here, when did they make sense the last time?

  • Demetri Demetri on Nov 11, 2008

    "Germans in matching outfits, marching, and carrying flags - kind of makes me uneasy." They look like the Super Mario Bros to me.

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Nov 12, 2008

    No more strike. Deal cut. 2.1 percent from February 1 on. 4.2 percent more starting in May.