German metal workers get to choose between a pay raise and fewer hours 

IG Metall, Germany's biggest union, has successfully negotiated a new agreement for its members -- they can either take a pay raise or extra time off. 

Daria Sukharchuk
Daria Sukharchuk NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
German metal workers get to choose between a pay raise and fewer hours  - NewsMavens
Metal worker, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

Those who opted for the 28-hour work week (the so-called "shortened full-time") were mostly people with children and relatives in need of care, as well as those who worked in shifts.

Care for relatives is still largely handled by women in Germany, and while the union did not release the gender breakdown of its data, it would be safe to assume that women made up a significant share of the employees who opted for fewer work hours over a pay rise. 

It might be the new reality that employees in well-paid industries have been striving for: fewer work hours and more flexibility instead of the traditional demand for more money.

Changes like this become increasingly important as more and more women enter the workforce, and are forced to combine employment with parenting (along with elder care).

Details from the story:

  • IG Metall, is Germany's biggest union, as well as the largest union of metal workers.
  • Employees who opted for more time off over a pay rise were those who had children, took care of elderly relatives, or worked shifts.
  • 36% of shift workers opted for lesser work hours. 
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