Alter Summit supports workers in strike in Germany

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Since 8 January, nearly 4 millions workers in the German metal and electrical industry have been called by IG Metall to disengage and strike to demand a 6% wage increase and a reduction in working time to 28 hours per week for those who wish to do so.

Alter Summit would like to express its full support for the workers in Germany and their trade union organisations in this opening period of struggle. Mobilization, demonstrations and strikes are the means of satisfying demands and raising workers’ awareness of their collective strength.

The reduction of working time is a historical demand of the workers’ movement and it is more than ever relevant in order to respond to the multiple current crises and aspirations in the world of work: mass unemployment, job insecurity, digitisation of work processes, etc....

In view of the level of productivity reached by work, it is legitimate for workers to have access to it either in the form of wage increases or by reducing their working hours. Working is not the only activity that gives meaning to the lives of men and women!

The reduction in working time opens up a number of debates which must undoubtedly be conducted in parallel:

  • Organisation of work
    The reduction in working time is often accompanied by greater flexibility and increased productivity. It is important to ensure that the gains made by a reduction in working time are not reduced by increasing rates and loss of meaning and quality of work;
  • Salary and hiring
    We believe it is important to ensure that wages are maintained as much as possible so that a reduction in working time can contribute to a fairer distribution of wealth in our societies. In addition, the reduction in working time should allow for the equivalent hiring of new workers;
  • It also seems important to us that measures to reduce working time should be thought through the prism of gender equality. The latter are indeed the first victims of the precariousness of employment.

The demand to reduce working time is on the trade union agenda in Europe. This is an offensive demand for workers and their organizations. Starting today, in many countries, proposals to reduce working time are being put forward by trade union organisations.

At Alter Summit we believe that this is a demand that can unite us at European level. We will work on it! To do this, could you inform us about your initiatives and demands in the field of working time reduction via

"Informations on demands and struggles:"

Agreements in the German metallurgical and electrical industry

On 6 February, after weeks of negotiations and strikes followed by hundreds of thousands of workers, the German industry union IG Metall reached an agreement with the employers of Germany’s most powerful industrial region (Baden-Württemberg), which is home of the Daimler, Porsche and Bosch group.

The union has obtained a wage increase of 4.3% for metal workers, which will apply to the 900,000 employees concerned. Above all, he imposed the right to a further reduction in working time. From now on, metalworkers in south-western Germany will be able to move from a 35-hour week of full-time work - their current legal working time - to a "reduced" full-time work of 28 hours per week for a maximum of two years, but without salary compensation. In return, employers were given the opportunity to more easily conclude company agreements to have employees work 40 hours a week instead of 35.

This agreement was repeated in other German regions:

Critical analysis: