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IG Metall Widens Walkouts to Daimler’s State in Pay Push

IG Metall, Germany’s largest manufacturing labor union, widened protests including temporary walkouts into the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg in a push for higher pay raise for workers at industrial companies.

The 500 employees on the night shift at Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz car plant in the Stuttgart suburb of Sindelfingen halted work early this morning, and further temporary walkouts are planned at the site as well as at Porsche AG’s main auto factory in Stuttgart’s Zuffenhausen district, IG Metall said today in an e-mailed statement.

“Several thousand employees” are expected to join the protests in Baden-Wuerttemberg, the union said.

The labor group is demanding a 5.5 percent pay increase. It rejected an offer by employers last month of a raise exceeding 2.3 percent. Union leaders are pushing for higher wages after German manufacturers such as Siemens AG, Volkswagen AG and Stuttgart-based Daimler generated multibillion-euro earnings last year. IG Metall’s protests are also aimed at countering waning labor-union influence in Germany, where unemployment rates are the lowest in the recession-plagued euro-area.

“While companies post record results and shareholders are happy about generous dividend payments, employees should get a wage freeze,” Joerg Hofmann, a representative of IG Metall in Baden-Wuerttemberg, said yesterday in a statement. “That’s deeply antisocial, and requires our power of protest.”

The union also plans walkouts tomorrow in Berlin, affecting a Mercedes component plant as well as factories owned by Robert Bosch GmbH, General Electric Co. and SKF AB, IG Metall said today in a separate statement.

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