Workers are demanding a 4-6.5% increase in wages, but companies are saying that kind of increase will force them to relocate. The strikes are called for by IG Metall, the union that represents 2.7 million factory workers. Yesterday’s strikes were against Mercedes and Porsche plants, but the labor action will encompass several other companies in a series of one-day strikes. Industry-wide actions are rare in Germany. The country has enjoyed peaceful labor relations and a strong labor movement. Recently, however, companies are opting out of the industry-wide collective bargaining umbrella. They say the wage negotiation structure is too rigid.
See Edmund L. Andrews, The New York Times, May 6, 2002