650 German workers win right to 28-hour week

Speech Materals

Labor union IG Metall secured an unprecedented deal to give a large portion of its 2.3 million members more flexible working hours and a big pay rise.

From next year, workers at many of Germany’s top engineering firms — such as Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler (DDAIF) — can opt to work 28 hours a week for up to two years, before returning to the standard 35-hour week.

The deal was negotiated with representatives of more than 700 companies in southwest Germany. It is expected to have ripple effects across German industry.

IG Metall said the flexibility would help employees who want to care for children or relatives. Pay will be reduced to reflect the shorter working week. The deal also gives workers the option to work 40 hours to earn more.

I – Word Understanding
Unprecedented – not done before
Ripple effects – a situation in which one event causes a series of other events to happen

II – Have Your Say
1. How do Labor Unions in your country work? What are the common activities/programs they have?
2. How satisfied are you in your working condition? What improvements are needed (pay, vacation, working hours, other benefits)?
3. In your country, what are the working/job choices for mothers and family caregivers?
4. What is your ideal number of working hours a week?

650 German workers win right to 28-hour week

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