There has been a positive development in the German collective bargaining dispute.

Employers and unions have ended pre-discussions ahead of a crucial meeting next week in the key district of the south west of the company, which signals that progress has been made.

No details have been given but it can be assumed that employees have been reassured that they will receive a better pay offer than the 2.1% wage rise that has been on the table to date. IG Metall is demanding an 8% rise.

Unions are now in their fifth day of warning strikes. According to local press reports, workers have disrupted production - taking odd hours off - at many automotive assembly plants including Opel in Bochum, Eisenach annd Rüsselsheim, Daimler in Baden-Württemberg, Porsche in Stuttgart, Audi in Neckarsulm and Ford in Saarlouis. Union leaders say they are prepared to extend this action to full scale strikes if necessary.

One of the biggest warning strikes took place ysterday at Opel's plant in Rüsselsheim, just outside Frankfurt, where 6,000 workers demonstrated outside the main gate. Rüsselsheim is the only plant in Germany that is currently working overtime because it is ramping up production of the new Insignia.

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