W. German Workers, Employers Agree on 35-Hour Workweek

<i> Reuters</i>

Employers and striking metal workers in a central region of West Germany agreed in a landmark accord today to cut the workweek by two hours in stages to 35 hours, averting the prospect of a potentially damaging nationwide strike.

IG Metall, the Western World’s biggest union, said in a statement that its members in the steel, car and engineering industries in Northern Wuerttemberg-Northern Baden will work a 35-hour week from October, 1995, on.

Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s government had said the country cannot afford a shorter workweek at a time when it needs to finance the costs of German unification.

The reduction in the current 37-hour week will come in two steps with a one-hour cut being introduced from April, 1993. Wages of workers covered by the agreement will be raised 6% from July this year, IG Metall said.