IG Metall wants to take the competitiveness of the German metal and electrical industry into account with the targeted four-day week. “From today’s perspective, I don’t see that the four-day week will be on IG Metall’s list of demands next year. I see this as a longer-term issue,” said the first chairman of the union, Jörg Hofmann, to the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung”. He added: “We are not naïve and say: Tomorrow we are aiming for a four-day week with full wage compensation in all of our industries. We are paying attention to the development of costs and productivity, but also to a fair distribution.”

The currently valid collective agreement for around 3.9 million employees in the metal and electrical industry in Germany runs until autumn 2024. In the upcoming collective negotiations, IG Metall will focus on higher wages and salaries and not on shorter working hours, said Hofmann. In principle, however, the demand for a reduction in the standard weekly working time from 35 to 32 hours with full wage compensation is adhered to. “In the longer term, we cannot avoid making such working time models possible for everyone,” said Hofmann.

The smaller steel industry should be a pioneer. In the next round of collective bargaining in the north-west German iron and steel industry, IG Metall is calling for a reduction in weekly working hours from 35 to 32 hours with full wage compensation and 8.5 percent more money. The first round of negotiations is planned for mid-November. According to the union, around 68,000 people are employed in the industry.