By on February 4, 2018

Audi Q2 factory production

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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27 Comments on “German Automotive Industry Coping With Widespread Strikes...”

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Robots cannot come fast enough.

  • avatar

    “Here’s why they are so pissed:”

    Is pissed now a synonym for entitled and greedy?

  • avatar

    I do 28 hours in three days. And I don’t get the likely seven weeks of vacay either.

    No wonder the price of Porsche parts is so high.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah but you live in the USA, right? A country that lags almost every other developed country in terms of vacation, parental leave etc. Nothing to be proud of.

      • 0 avatar

        We lead the world in awesomeness so there’s that.

        Most productive, most charitable, etc…

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          most charitable? I beg to differ.

          As a percentage the US lags many other OECD economies in aid and charity.

          • 0 avatar

            Big Al: from 2013 to 2016 the US has ranked as 1st or 2nd in charitable giving world-wide according to Gallup, ahead of all OECD countries. And in terms of pure monetary value (not per capita) of charitable giving the US is far and away number 1 anyway you want to slice or dice the results. Only when you add government foreign aid on a per capita basis do some countries start to rise up the rankings, but they typically are much lower than the US in actual citizen “out-of-pocket” giving.


          • 0 avatar

            Considering that mailing money to the Pat Robertsons and Joel Osteens of the world qualifies as “giving to charity” in the US, I’m going to have to call “unsubstantiated” on that stat. The vast majority of “charitable” donations in the US go to supporting your personal social club, or making the head coach at your Alma Mater obscenely overpaid. Only about 1/3 of the money donated to “charity” actually goes to helping people who need help.

          • 0 avatar

            Steve65 – I didn’t know that charity only counted if it meets your criteria. I hope you realize that giving to a church also typically funds a lot of soup kitchens/homeless shelters and other charity, and giving to universities funds scholarships and not just the football coach. On the other hand, a lot of “helping the needy” charity goes into the Swiss bank accounts of the Kleptocrats who run the needy countries and/or the bloated administrative overhead of the charity itself.

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      Same here. 60- or 70-hour weeks are no big thing. I’m paid well for the time but a 28-hour week is a part-time job around here. Such jobs don’t include benefits or a paid vacation, either. You might make ‘vacation time’ but it’s paid weekly at 4% so if you don’t divert it you spend it.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Here in Australia I’m getting 5 weeks annual leave, plus public holidays and every ten years an additional 3 months long service leave. This is as a salaried worker, not wages. I retire in less than 3 years and I saw my superior the other day with a “leave plan”. I have 43 weeks of leave in the next 3 years to consume!

      We have casual workers who recieve no leave entitlements, but in return they get a 20% loading on their pay packet. The permanent workforce recieve 4 weeks annual leave and long service every ten years. If you work 9 years and quit you are not entitled the 3 months long service.

      Like the chicken tax, long service leave is the legacy from eons ago and a waste. The story goes;

      When Great Britan sort of ruled the Australian “colony” the British Public Servants got 3 months every 10 years to travel back to Mother England. I think this came about in the middle of the 19th Century and its still with us today. And I love it, even though it’s not good for productivity!

  • avatar

    Slightly off topic but the image with this article comes from a YouTube series I coincidentally discovered earlier today that shows camera stills from the Audi factory floor in Ingolstadt. Although at parts a little slow, it showed the amazing tech, robotics and environment of how a modern automobile is manufactured. It’s truly fascinating to see all these machines at work with precision and cleanliness only seen in sci fi flicks.

    • 0 avatar

      Check out the A-class Mercedes video – IIRC its part of the “How its Made” TV show but its on YouTube.

      That’s my go to video when somebody likes to rub “Well yeah Elon and Tesla are using advanced robotics to build cars” and they show a video of a cute little automaton carrying some materials around the shop floor.

      There is also an i3 YouTube production vid but to really appreciate the i3 you have to watch Autoline Afterhours episode 284 with guest Sandy Munro who runs Munro & Associates who reverse engineer auto product.


  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Germany is rolling with the good times at the moment due to the value of the Euro.

    The workers (by the sounds of it are potential Trump voters) should realise that down the track their greed now might come back to bite them. Just look at the UAW and how they screwed the US auto industry with their greed.

    If I were them I would accept the 6.8% pay rise and be happy. The additional workplace reforms need to be discussed at length. I believe if they work 28 hours a week to care for relatives, they get paid for 28 hours work.

    Maybe the worker should be “forced” to find a partner to share the job. It would be simple we have that in Australia, job sharing.

  • avatar

    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?

    • 0 avatar

      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.

  • avatar

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

    • 0 avatar

      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…

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