* Union wants 5.5 pct wage hike, has rejected 2.3 pct offer
* Further strike action planned for Wednesday
* Employers and union not expected to reach deal quickly
(Adds comment from employers' association and economic context)
STUTTGART/HAMBURG, May 7 Almost 100,000 metal
and electrical workers went on strike across Germany on Tuesday
as they sought to put pressure on their employers to increase a
pay offer, engineering union IG Metall said.
The union is calling for wage hikes of up to 5.5 percent for
some 3.7 million workers from May. It has so far rejected an
offer from employers to increase wages by 2.3 percent from July
following two months without a raise.
Unions are pushing for inflation-beating wage hikes,
confident politicians courting votes for a federal election due
in September will back their demands. Annual inflation was
running at 1.2 percent in April, preliminary figures showed.
IG Metall and employers started a third round of
negotiations in Baden-Wuerttemberg on Tuesday evening, but they
were not expected to reach an agreement quickly.
Any deal reached in the state home to major carmakers such
as Daimler and Porsche as well as
manufacturers such as printing machine maker Heidelberger Druck
would set the tone for wage hikes in the engineering
Negotiations take place at a regional level before a deal
made in one region is deemed a pilot agreement and generally
adopted by the other regions.
Negotiations are due to restart in the southeastern state of
Bavaria, where BMW has its headquarters, on Wednesday.
"IG Metall would be well advised to agree on a moderate deal
with us as quickly as possible as times will certainly not get
better," said Rainer Dulger, head of employers' association
Data shows Germany's private sector contracting, business
and investor sentiment worsening, unemployment rising and
engineering orders falling, although industrial orders and car
sales have risen.
The union wants to vote on an unlimited strike if no
agreement is reached by the Whitsun holiday, which takes place
on May 19-20.
IG Metall head Berthold Huber said: "We only have just under
10 days left to reach an outcome at the negotiating table."
An agreement is not expected this week. Further strikes are
planned for Wednesday in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria and North
(Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach in Stuttgart, Andreas Rinke in
Berlin and Jan C. Schwartz in Hamburg; Writing by Michelle
Martin; Editing by Alison Williams)