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June 19, 2003

GERMANY: East German working hours dispute hits BMW – report

BMW said strikes for a shorter work week in formerly communist eastern Germany will disrupt production at several plants in the west of the country next week, Bloomberg News reported.

By bcusack

BMW said strikes for a shorter work week in formerly communist eastern Germany will disrupt production at several plants in the west of the country next week, Bloomberg News reported.

The IG Metall union on Tuesday extended its two-week old strike campaign to Berlin and the surrounding Brandenburg region — hitting among other companies ZF Getriebe GmbH, which supplies gearboxes for BMW’s 3-series models, Bloomberg News said.

According to the news agency, BMW said production will be stopped at plants in Munich and Regensburg starting next Monday, while it will be restricted at three further factories in Dingolfing, Landshut and Steyr.

Bloomberg News noted that IG Metall, Germany’s largest industrial union, is demanding a gradual shortening of the economically depressed east’s 38-hour work week to the 35 hours worked in the west and, on Wednesday, some 11,400 workers downed tools, the union reportedly said.

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