Germany#;s first major strike for seven years ended yesterday after engineering workers, including those in the car industry, agreed to a pay rise of over 3%.

The IG Metall union said the pay deal agreed was 4% for the year to June 1, 2003, followed by a 3.1% increase for the six months to the end of 2003. Employees will also receive a one-off payment of 120 euros for May 2002.

The deal came after a 10-day strike which had seen a series of one-day stoppages affect car companies such as DaimlerChrysler.

The agreement is technically for the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg in south-west Germany but 3.6 million engineering and metalworking workers in the rest of Germany are expected to accept it.

The strike from May 6 affected companies in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Berlin.

Baden-Wuerttemberg workers will suspend their strike until formal ballot approval next week but Berlin workers will continue the rolling one-day strikes until the Baden-Wuerttemberg deal is formally adopted.