German workers just won the right to a 28-hour work week, instead of the standard 35 hours, plus a 4.3% pay raise, for better work-life balance. The new deal is for up to two years so workers have flexibility to look after their families.
It covers one million workers in the industrial sector, with a possibility to expand to 3.9 million more people. IG Metal is Germany’s largest trade union. They represent metal and engineering workers and demanded that workers should not get a pay cut for working fewer hours.
But that was rejected. Instead, workers will only be paid for the hours they put in. On the other side, German companies also won new rights. They can offer a 40-hour work week to those who want to put in more hours.
The new agreement comes just after Germany’s economy reported record growth since 2011. It grew 2.2% last year — but economists are afraid it may overheat.