So-called warning strikes by steelworkers at ThyssenKrupp AG and Salzgitter AG that began yesterday will â€œdefinitelyâ€ continue unless employers meet demands for 6 percent more pay, Helga Schwitzer, an IG Metall board member responsible for wage negotiations said in a Sept. 21 interview in Frankfurt.
While exports give Germany a â€œvery strong leg to stand on,â€ increases are justified because the recovery is at risk without consumer spending, Schwitzer said. â€œIf youâ€™re only standing on one leg, you start to limp,â€ she said. â€œThe second leg, domestic spending, has to be strengthened.â€ ..
â€œWe could use a level of redistribution in this wage round, but we shouldnâ€™t overdo it,â€ Andreas Scheuerle, an economist at Dekabank in Frankfurt, said by phone. â€œPay increases would mean a win for the domestic economy, but it would come at the cost of exports.â€ ..
The government should use its trade surplus, the European Unionâ€™s biggest, to â€œfoster domestic demand and ease reliance on exports that are contributing a huge trade imbalance on the euro-zoneâ€™s periphery,â€ said Juergen Kroeger, a director in the EU Commissionâ€™s Economic and Financial Affairs department.
â€œWhy arenâ€™t we paying people higher wages in this country?â€ he said Sept. 13 in Berlin. â€œThat might be a start.â€