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Germany’s 28-Hour Workweek

Klaus Dörre

German metalworkers’ union IG Metall made international headlines last month after a twenty-four-hour “warning strike” compelled employers to sign a deal with the union giving its members the right to a twenty-eight-hour workweek.

The deal — which covers 900,000 workers in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg — is seen as a landmark in European labor relations, granting workers who want to reduce their working hours the right to do so for a two-year period. It came after 15,000 workers in eighty companies downed tools as part of a campaign for a better work-life balance and also included a substantial pay raise.