Posted May 22nd 2012 6:02PM
Anyone considering a German-built car might want to buy it now. It could be a long summer.
Europe's largest industrial union, IG Metall, is taking a tough stance against some job rules German carmakers want to enforce, potentially creating the possibility of a strike, according to TheDetroitBureau.com.
"Talks are resuming, but so far five rounds of negotiations have produced little movement and a round of warning strikes earlier this month at several companies, including Porsche, BMW and Daimler, suggest that the powerful union is gearing up for a confrontation," the Bureau reported earlier this week.
The union wants a 6.5-per cent pay raise for its workers and a limit in how many temporary workers the carmakers can use. Around the world, carmakers use temporary workers as way to increase production without increasing union membership and save money.
The union was offered a 3-per cent pay raise, but that offer was rejected. Currently, German auto workers are some of the highest paid in the automotive world. And while parts of Europe remain in economic turmoil, Germany has shown signs of slow growth, which might be one reason some government officials are backing IG Metall.
All of this doesn't bode well for General Motors' German-based Opel. GM was hoping to get some concessions from the unions representing its workers as part of its restructuring. But if other carmakers are paying more for its workers, it's unlikely the troubled Opel would be able to squeeze much of its people.