Start of the fourth round of talks: The IG Metall trade union is entering into the next negotiations in the wage conflict in the steel industry. Can indefinite strikes still be prevented?

In the collective bargaining dispute in the steel industry, the IG Metall trade union threatened indefinite strikes at the start of the fourth round of negotiations.

The round of talks is the employers’ last chance to prevent the negotiations from failing and thus preventing a ballot, said a spokesman for IG Metall on Tuesday afternoon immediately before the negotiations began in Düsseldorf. In a ballot among union members, said indefinite suspensions could be decided – that would significantly increase the pressure on employers.

In the past few weeks there have already been warning strikes with thousands of participants, for example in Salzgitter, Bremen, Duisburg and Bochum.

It’s about the iron and steel industry in Northwest Germany, i.e. above all Bremen, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. Around 68,000 people work in the industry. It was completely open on Tuesday afternoon whether an agreement would be reached on Wednesday night. Both sides expected a long night of negotiations.

The negotiating fronts had recently hardened. In view of the rapid inflation, IG Metall is asking for 8.2 percent more money over a period of one year as a sustainable, table-effective increase. Most recently, 4.7 percent of employers were ready for 21 months – from the point of view of the Steel Employers’ Association, this is a realistic increase. If an agreement is reached, the East German steel industry should follow the guidelines.