German steel workers agree pay rise - union

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany, July 8 Tue Jul 8, 2014 1:45am EDT

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany, July 8 (Reuters) - German trade union IG Metall has reached an agreement with steel companies to raise the pay of 75,000 workers in northwestern Germany by 4 percent in two steps, ending a dispute that had prompted strikes last week.

Under the agreement, which runs for 17 months and was struck early on Tuesday after more than 12 hours of talks, workers will receive a 2.3 percent increase from July and another 1.7 percent in May 2015, according to IG Metall.

That is less than the 5 percent over 12 months the union had demanded but is well above the rate of inflation in Germany.

Wages in Germany, adjusted for inflation, rose by 1.3 percent in the first quarter, the largest rise in almost three years, data showed last week. They had fallen in 2013 by 0.1 percent, the first annual fall in four years.

Inflation in Germany stands at about 0.9 percent.

Last week IG Metall called strikes at plants operated by steel companies including ThyssenKrupp, Salzgitter , ArcelorMittal and Finland's Outokumpu . (Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Alan Raybould)