West German steel-workers have begun their first official strike in 50 years in support of pay claims and a shorter working week.
West German steel-workers have begun their first official strike in 50 years in support of pay claims and a shorter working week. The employers have responded with the threat of a lock-out.
SYNOPSIS: The strike has brought to a stand-still eight major steel plants on the Ruhr, the industrial heart-land of West Germany.
Union members at this plant check cars through their picket line to ensure there is no strike-breaking. The union involved, IG Metal, represents nearly a quarter of a million steelworkers. Their leader, Eugen Loderer, says the demand for a cut in working hours is aimed at protecting jobs, which he says are being lost at the rate of a thousand a month.
The men say they want the working week cut to 35 hours, and a five percent pay increase. The employers have offered a three percent rise and six weeks' annual holiday, and after the strike started, they ordered a lock-out from next Friday (1 December). The union leaders say they are prepared for a long strike, and they are counting on support from metal unions in other countries.
The first official steel strike since 1928 threatens to hit the automobile industry, the only healthy area of a generally depressed steel industry.