In Germany, the IG Metall workers won the right for the reducing working week – only 28 hours for a period of up to two years. The traditional full German working week is 35-hour-long.
Under the deal, German metalworkers will be allowed to reduce their working week in a landmark deal between employers and Europe’s biggest union. The point is the employers will not be able to block individual workers from taking up the offer.
Thus, workers who take advantage of the deal will be paid only for the hours worked, and at the end of two years, they will have to return to the full 35-hour working week. Metalworkers at the Bombardier plant in Hennigsdorf near Berlin, northeastern Germany, staged a warning strike in January. A month after they are winning. According to the activists, time over money, people want to spend much time with their families and kids.
IG Metall: a 28-hour working week came true
The collective deal was agreed by IG Metall, and for now, applies only to around 900,000 workers in the metals and electrical industries in the south-western state of Baden-Wurttemberg.
But the state, home to major companies such as Bosch and Daimler, the makers of Mercedes, is often seen as a weather vane for the German economy and it is likely to be rolled out further.
The 2017 economy grew at its fastest rate since 2011 and unemployment is at its lowest since reunification of two Germanies in 1990, putting workers in a strong position.