The chancellor spoke to thousands of trade unionists in Leipzig, eastern Germany. He highlighted the progress his government has made for working people since 1998. He did not comment on the strikes in the engineering industry that are expected to begin next week. Citing concern over the possible economic impact of strikes, Schroder's stance in recent weeks has been to call for a wage settlement. Speaking at a rally in Berlin, Klaus Zwickel of IG Metall said that strikes would actually help with Germany's economic recovery. Acording to the DGB national trade union federation, approximately 500,000 people participated in labour movement rallies on Wednesday.