German workers win the right to a 28-hour week
German metal workers have won the right to a 28-hour working week in a landmark deal between employers and Europe's biggest union.
Under the deal, staff will be allowed to reduce their working week to 28 hours for a period of up to two years.
Employers will not be able to block individual workers from taking up the offer. Those who take advantage of the deal will be paid only for the hours worked, and at the end of two years they will have to return to the full 35-hour working week.
The collective deal was agreed by IG Metall, and for now applies only to around 900,000 workers in the metals and electrical industries in the south-western state of Baden-Wurttemberg.
But the state, home to major companies such as Bosch and Daimler, the makers of Mercedes, is often seen as a weather vane for the German economy and it is likely to be rolled out further.
Last year, the economy grew at its fastest rate since 2011 and unemployment is at its lowest since reunification in 1990, putting workers in a strong position. (© Daily Telegraph, London)