German Automotive Industry Coping With Widespread Strikes

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
german automotive industry coping with widespread strikes

With the UAW currently coping with a high-profile corruption scandal in the United States, news of Germany’s widespread auto strikes has taken a backseat in domestic media. Last Friday, IG Metall concluded its third day of striking against Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Porsche, Audi, VW, and BMW.

However the 72-hours of downtime may only be the appetizer in the German union’s strike-buffet. While both IG Metall and the manufacturers have expressed a willingness to resume talks on Monday, the union remains on the cusp of a vote that could extend striking indefinitely. Here’s why they are so pissed:

The group has requested an 8 percent pay rise over 27 months for 3.9 million workers in the metal and engineering sectors. It’s also asking to reduce weekly hours from 35 to 28 so employees can care for children or ailing relatives, and to be able to return to full-time after two years.

According to Reuters, automakers have counter offered with a 6.8 percent wage increase, but have refused to comply with the demand for shorter hours. They said, without the flexibility to increase workers’ hours when necessary, the deal is a nonstarter. Manufacturers also didn’t believe it was fair to compensate workers who were cutting their hours. Several employers are also challenging the strikes in court and seeking damages.

Roughly half a million workers took part in the German strikes by the end of last week. IG Metall said production was impacted at 280 companies — including dozens of smaller suppliers of items used in the production of cars, aircraft, and machinery. But it was the automotive sector that took the hardest hit.

“Now it is up to the employers to understand the signal we are sending and make a significant improvement to their offer. If the employers are willing to do that, talks can resume on Monday,” IG Metall chief Joerg Hofmann said in a statement.

[Image: Volkswagen Group]

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  • TomLU86 TomLU86 on Feb 05, 2018

    America has delusions of grandeur, as we are living way beyond our means, and drowning in debt. As for the "UAW screwing the US Auto Industry with their greed", I concede that the UAW played a big role. However, a MUCH bigger role was the greed and ineptitude of senior management. The UAW was/is like the common cold, or more accurately, a case of hemorrhoids. Management is like a bad heart condition, if not a cancer... When GM was at the top of it's game, in the mid-1960s, what was the ratio of CEO to worker pay? And what was it in the 1980s? Or 90s? Or 2000s? Or now?

    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Feb 05, 2018

      Probably a lot of truth in what you wrote but President Trump is a dedicated and self-declared union man who is pushing for more union membership with the help of Richard Trump ka and the creation of more manufacturing jobs in the US of A. Robots are indeed the wave of the future but until then, it's more union more of the time. The UAW hasn't changed its stripes of the past. It's still the same old, same old, business as usual.

  • Sub-600 Sub-600 on Feb 05, 2018

    America: Going out of business since 1776. All I can say is “Lighten up, Francis”

    • TomLU86 TomLU86 on Feb 05, 2018

      Good one Sub-100, thanks :) To paraphrase a famous(ly overrated) politician: "America in 2018 is not a good place to be. Except for all the others." I'm here, so I hope I'm right...

  • Tassos What was the last time we had any good news from Ford? (or GM for that matter?)The last one was probably when Alan Mulally was CEO. Were you even born back then?Fields was a total disaster, then they go hire this clown from Toyota's PR department, the current Ford CEO, Fart-ley or something.He claims to be an auto enthusiast too (unlike Mary Barra who is even worse, but of course always forgiven, as she is the proud owner of a set of female genitals.
  • Tassos I know some would want to own a collectible Mustang. (sure as hell not me. This crappy 'secretary's car' (that was exactly its intended buying demo) was as sophisticated (transl. : CRUDE) as the FLintstone's mobile. Solid Real Axle? Are you effing kidding me?There is a huge number of these around, so they are neither expensive nor valuable.WHen it came out, it was $2,000 or so new. A colleague bought a recent one with the stupid Ecoboost which also promised good fuel economy. He drives a hard bargain and spends time shopping and I remember he paid $37k ( the fool only bought domestic crap, but luckily he is good with his hands and can fix lots of stuff on them).He told me that the alleged fuel economy is obtained only if you drive it like a VERY old lady. WHich defeats the purpose, of course, you might as well buy a used Toyota Yaris (not even a Corolla).
  • MRF 95 T-Bird Back when the Corolla consisted of a wide range of body styles. This wagon, both four door and two door sedans, a shooting brake like three door hatch as well as a sports coupe hatchback. All of which were on the popular cars on the road where I resided.
  • Wjtinfwb Jeez... I've got 3 Ford's and have been a defender due to my overall good experiences but this is getting hard to defend. Thinking the product durability testing that used to take months to rack up 100k miles or more is being replaced with computer simulations that just aren't causing these real-world issues to pop up. More time at the proving ground please...
  • Wjtinfwb Looks like Mazda put more effort into sprucing up a moribund product than Chevy did with the soon to be euthanized '24 Camaro.