A series of German salary renewal negotiations has gotten off to a brisk start this year amid strikes in several sectors. On Feb. 6, steelworkers laid down tools following a call by the IG Metall trade union. Three hundred workers stopped work temporarily at a site belonging to sector leader ThyssenKrupp. Similar actions were expected to follow on Feb. 7 and Feb. 8 by workers employed by the Vallourec and Mannesmann groups.
IG Metall has called for 85,000 workers to receive wage raises of eight percent. Unions have raised the bar this year following several years of moderation during which the economy has posted strong growth while workers' buying power has been undermined by rising inflation.