Would you want a 28-hour work week? In February the German industrial union IG Metall won its workers the right to reduce their weekly hours from 35 hours to 28, for up to two years. While their pay would be accordingly reduced (based on hours worked), employees will receive a general pay rise of 4.3%. In addition, companies will be able to increase the workweek up to 40 hours, for employees who want to work more.
IG Metall union leader Jorg Hoffman stated, “The agreement is a milestone on the way to a modern, self-determined world of work.” The deal covers nearly 1 million workers.
The deal was the result of pressure from workers who want more personal time, instead of more pay. In addition, workers who are willing to put in more time have that option as well, up to 40 hours weekly.
As unions in the US weaken, workers have been suing for the right to not pay union dues. Meanwhile, in Germany, unions have been fighting not just for flexible hours, but access to economic prosperity and the profits generated by their labor.