IGM’s request for an individual option to cut working hours to 28
Matters have been complicated further by IGM (the metal sector union)
demanding an option to reduce individual weekly hours to 28 for up to two
years, with a EUR 200 monthly subsidy from employers if hours are reduced to
take care of a child or a close relative. The employers’ association has flatly
rejected this request on the basis of surging demand with production already
impaired by the lack of qualified labour.
Moreover, the association has
commissioned legal expertise, which argues that such a subsidy would be illegal
given the resulting preferential treatment of employees who get reduced hours
under such a contract compared to those who are already working reduced
hours and are not entitled to the EUR 200 monthly subsidy.
Although it is unclear whether this assessment would hold up in court, the
impression is that IGM may be having second thoughts about its own demand –
especially since the work forces in some SMEs do apparently consider such a
measure detrimental to their company under current circumstances.