industriAll Europe's German affiliates, IG Metall, have secured a 3.7% pay increase from March as part of a package of improvements for workers across North Rhine Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Bremen.

The agreement which covers January 1 2019 until February 28, 2021 includes: 

  • A one-off payment for February and January of €100.

  • Wage increase of 3.7 per cent from 1st of March 2019 for all blue and white collar workers. 

  • From 1st of July 2020, €1,000 extra tariff wage agreement for all blue and white colour workers, with the option to convert this allowance into free days. The lower wage groups have the right for five free days, the higher wage groups for four days. 

  • Two-step over proportional increase of the apprentice’s pay: 88 until 188 € more. From March 2020 the apprentice’s pay of the steel industry will have the same level as the metal and electrical industries. 

  • Extension of collective agreements on partial retirement, securing employment, working conditions and use of sub-contract.

  • An obligation to sign a collective agreement for young people who graduate in an apprenticeship combined with university study.

The union secured the agreement at 4am following almost 16 hours of negotiations in the fifth round of talks. 

It was achieved despite resistance to the proposals from the employers. Talks almost collapsed at the fourth round when a below inflation pay offer was proposed. Employers were also particularly hostile to the extra holiday allowance. 

But a series of warning strikes involving 26,000 workers put enough pressure on the employers to ultimately deliver a good deal for workers. 

This is yet another example of how collective bargaining can ensure that workers get their fair share of profits that they play a crucial role in generating. industriAll Europe will be launching a campaign to promote collective bargaining later this year.