In another of those job-destroying victories that are increasingly causing expanding companies to site plants outside the European Community, Germany’s mighty IG Metall metalworkers union is celebrating having given IBM Deutschland GmbH a bloody nose in the Hamburg industrial tribunal. The court ruled that IBM cannot unilaterally impose a 38-hour week for the IG Metall members it employs when the union’s contract calls for a 36-hour working week. At the beginning of 1993, IBM began applying the 36-hour-a-week IG Metall contract only to operations directly involving manufacturing, which employ about 7,000 people. For the service sectors of its business, which employ about 15,000 people, IBM applied a house agreement it had signed with the DAG white collar workers union, which calls for a 38-hour average working week, and tried to impose the terms of that agreement to IG Metall members. According to the union, the industrial tribunal ruled that the longer hours are only valid for DAG members. The decision was in response to a complaint from an IBM employee in Hamburg, who was told by management in March that he and his colleagues would have to work 38 hours for the same pay he had had for a 36-hour week.
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