Metal workers vote to strike in eastern Germany

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The Independent Online
Metal and electronics workers demanding higher pay voted overwhelming to hold the first big strike in eastern Germany since the 1930s, the union announced yesterday, AP reports from Berlin. Union officials were to start meeting today to decide on the timing of the strike that would take some 71,000 workers off their jobs as early as next week. The action could be crucial to labour relations and the economy in eastern Germany, which is staggering under a 17 per cent unemployment rate.

The strike authorisation vote attracted over 95 per cent of eligible members of the IG Metall union in eastern Germany, where employers have unilaterally broken a deal signed in 1991 to phase in West German pay scales.