German workers have won the right to a 28-hour week in a victory towards their fight for a better work-life balance.
Industrial union IG Metall, Europe’s largest trade union, has won its workers the right to work the equivalent of under six hours each day in a deal that could eventually impact almost 4 million people in the country.
The collective deal covers around 900,000 metal and engineering workers in the south-western state of Baden-Württemberg, but it is expected to prompt changes across the country and in other industries.
It means from next year, workers at many of Germany’s most important engineering firms can opt to take on a 28-hour working week for up to two years. Employers will not be able to prevent individual workers from taking up the offer.
The agreement comes after IG Metall called three 24-hour strikes and workers downed tools at a number of engineering companies. In return for agreeing the shorter week, employers gained a right …