Health workers line up in front of booths at the newly opened Covid-19 vaccination centre in the SSE Arena of Belfast. Photo: Liam Mcburney/PA Wire/dpa
Health workers line up in front of booths at the newly opened Covid-19 vaccination centre in the SSE Arena of Belfast. Photo: Liam Mcburney/PA Wire/dpa

dpa/GNA – Germany’s main metal workers’ union struck a deal with business leaders early Tuesday guaranteeing a one-off across-the-board pandemic payment and recurring annual special payments in North Rhine Wetphalia state, employers and union representatives announced.

The deal technically only covers workers in that industry-heavy western state, but both sides have agreed that it will be expanded to cover some 3.8 million workers in the metal and electrical industries across Germany.

The payments are part of a labour agreement that will be in place through September 2022.

The plan, worked out overnight into Tuesday would see some 700,000 workers in North Rhine-Westphalia each receive a one-time pandemic payment of 500 euros (590 dollars) in June.

Workers could use the special payments outlined in the agreement towards reducing their working hours, said Arndt Kirchhoff of the employers association of North Rhine Westphalia.

He spoke of a wage compromise “characterised by fairness, reason and foresight in an extraordinarily difficult economic situation.”

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