Gesamtmetall calls for more flexible working hours – criticism from IG Metall

BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – In view of the upcoming reform of the Working Hours Act, the German metal and electrical industry is demanding more leeway for employers and employees. “The working hours that we have in Germany today are really among the shortest in the world,” said the President of the Employers’ Association of Gesamtmetall, Stefan Wolf, on Tuesday. “Anyone who wants prosperity must then at least be able to distribute these short working hours in a highly flexible and unbureaucratic manner.” Time clocks didn’t fit the time.

The Federal Labor Court ruled in September that working hours in every company must be recorded in a transparent and verifiable manner. The court referred to a ruling by the European Court of Justice from 2019. Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) then announced a rapid reform of the Working Hours Act.

Wolf said: “Many employees want to organize their work differently, align it more flexibly, distribute it better – and a fifth of all employees do this, for example, in trust-based working hours.” There is no control over when the work begins and ends. Wolf said that so far everyone has been satisfied. That must also be possible in the future.

Specifically, the head of the association called for a maximum weekly working time to apply in the future instead of a daily maximum. “We don’t want people to work longer because of this – but it should be better to be able to distribute the work within the week.” In addition, there should be opportunities to deviate from applicable rest periods.

The IG Metall trade union, on the other hand, demanded that occupational safety and health should be the focus of a new regulation on recording working hours. At the same time, there must be scope for self-determined time management. Board member Hans-Jürgen Urban countered the employer’s demands: “Hugely extending working hours and reducing rest periods is not a contribution to securing skilled workers.” Anyone who wants to work beyond the current legal level is overexploiting the health of the employees. Working hours that were too long led to more cases of illness./jwe/DP/mis

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