The union it's selfEdit

IG Metall (German: Industriegewerkschaft Metall, English: "Industrial Union of Metalworkers'") is the dominant metalworkers' union in Germany, making it the country's largest union as well as Europe's largest industrial union. Analysts of German labour relations consider it a major trend-setter in national bargaining.

The name refers to the union's metalworkers roots dating back to the start of unions in imperial Germany in the 1890s, though this formal organization was founded post-war in 1949. Major accomplishments of IG Metall in the German labor market include, applied to the regions/covered employees:

  • 5 day work week (1959)
  • Paid vacation time consessions (1962)
  • 40 hr work week (1965–67)
  • Paid sick leave (1970)
  • 35 hr work week (attempts not yet successful 1984)
  • 34 hr work week in metal industry (1995)

It had expanded from mining and metallurgy in to wood, plastics, textiles and other manufacturing sectors over the years.

The IGM magazine metallzeitung has existed since 1949. In 2005 it had a circulation of over 2 million per issue. There are 12 issues per year.


Historically, the German trade unions have not been known for their militancy, but in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the UK, Italy and France were all sites of fierce industrial conflict, Germany was comparatively quiet.

Their corporatist "social partnership" relied on the country's export economy running smoothly with the trade unions being puppets of the company's bosses, but in exstange for several pre-agreed workers' rights that the bosses would never violate.

German Union membership remains much higher than in the U.S. IG Metall had 2.27 members in 2015.


South Korea had a boom in the first half of the 1950s that allowed heavy manufacturing to prosper, leading to an ecanomic boom. The second half of the 1950s then saw the rise of German consumer good industry, leading to an ecanomic boom.

By by the September of 1955, Germany counted less than 500,000 unemployed in 1955 as compared to more than 17,000,000.

1955 strike in Baden-WirttembergEdit

IG Metall went on a short strike in Baden-Wirttemberg during 1955 in support of some workers who had claimed they were over worked and could no keep up with the 50 hour week they ere supposed to do. IG Metall had entered the 1955 annual wage round by cancelling all collective contracts in the North Rhine-Westphalia district. They sought to reach a different agreement for the iron and steel industry than it did for general metalworking.

IG Metall's shop stewards were reluctant to flow the unions aggressive wage policy, unlike the more radical membership in 1955.

Schleswig-Holstein metal worker strike in 1956-57Edit

Bremen agreement and in particular the Schleswig-Holstein metal worker strike in 1956-7 over sick-pay reform showed. The major strike was held over sick-pay, pay levels and maximum working hours after the firms effected breached the 1955 Bremen Agreement.

This happened under the leadership of Otto Brenner, who was part of the 'progressive wing' in the DGB, finally 'was condemned to act' if it did not want to lose out against the more moderate faction within the DGB. The union would remain divided for years.

1963 strike in Baden-WirttembergEdit

IG Metall went on a short strike in Baden-Wirttemberg during 1963 in support of a 45-hour week. A 40-hour week was brought in during 1960, but this had been ignored by the bosses.

The 1965 Schleswig-Holstein strikeEdit

IG Metall went on strike for 16 weeks in Schleswig-Holstein during 1965 in support of a 45-hour week. A 40-hour week was brought in during 1960, but this had been ignored by the bosses.

The 1960s-1970s wildcat strikes at the Bochum GM/Opel plantEdit

At the beginning of the 1960s only 4.6 per cent of Ford's workers were a trades union, so IG Metall began a long-term campaign about this and had even held a two-hour warning in 1970 as part of campaign.

Eugen Loderer, who replaced the powerful Otto Brunner in the late 1960s, as head of IG Metall, did not have the same grip on officials and on wages the negotiations either.

Turkish migrant workers struggled in West Germany in the 1970s and IG Metall did not like this.

The strikes in the 1970s was nearly 3 times that of the 1960s. The workforce at the Bochum plant has always had a reputation of being more militant. When it was found out on October 14, 1970, that GM plans were to cut the German labour force over 10,000, and by 4,000 in Bochum the workers struck, leading to a reduction in job losses in the immediate future.

Print workers, steel workers, railwaymen, truckers, miners, railwaymen, left-wing Turkish immigrants and auto-motive workers struck frequently at this time.

1973 strike in Baden-WirttembergEdit

The groups hardest hit by the consequences of workplace rationalisation in this phase of industrial change were in Baden-Wirttemberg, so IG Metall struck in Baden-Wirttemberg during 1973.

1984 National StrikeEdit

In 1984, IG Metall won a national strike, the last major strike in Germany.

Also seeEdit

  1. Italy's Years of Lead
  2. Ebbw Vale Steelworks
  3. Energy and resources
  4. 1953 East German Uprising
  5. Socialism with a human face
  6. Prague Protests of 1968
  7. May 1968 events in France
  8. Brezhnev doctrine
  9. Truman doctrine
  10. CND
  11. RAF Molesworth
  12. RAF Upper Heyford
  13. Greenham Air Base
  14. Ramstein Air Base
  15. Harlem- 1950-1990
  16. Hippies
  17. Operation Gladio
  18. A political diorama
  19. Mining
  20. Useful metals
  21. Mag-Thor
  22. Energy and resources
  23. The Paris riots of the 1960s
  24. London's political 'Loony Left'
  25. The 1981 warning strike in Poland
  26. Racial conflict in London (1959-1982)
  27. Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
  28. March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
  29. Politically Communist and/or Socialist
  30. Mineral mining, smelting and shipping videos
  31. London's covert kinky and illegal sex life
  32. Kent State University vs. Ohio National Guardsmen
  33. "London's Burning" (the political epithet, not the UK TV show)

Outside links and sourcesEdit

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.