Labour briefs

Average weekly earnings climb 0.7 per cent: StatsCan • The not-so-friendly skies: U.S. unions battle over airline workers • VW agrees to ‘hefty’ wage hike for German workers

Average weekly earnings climb 0.7 per cent: StatsCan

— Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $915 in March, up 0.7 per cent from the previous month, according to Statistics Canada. On a year-over-year basis, earnings increased 3.1 per cent.

The 3.1 per cent increase in earnings during the 12 months to February reflects a number of factors, including wage growth, changes in composition of employment by industry, occupation and level of job experience, as well as average hours worked per week.

In March, non-farm payroll employees worked an average of 33 hours per week, up from the month and year before, both at 32.9 hours per week.

The not-so-friendly skies: U.S. unions battle over airline workers

— The Teamsters union has ramped up its effort to displace the unions representing ground workers at American Airlines and US Airways Group, which plan to merge this year and form the world's biggest airline.

The Teamsters said it filed with the U.S. National Mediation Board for an election to represent mechanics at AMR Corp's American Airlines, who are currently represented by the Transport Workers Union of America. Earlier this month, the Teamsters filed for an election for US Airways mechanics, seeking to displace the machinists union.

Should the National Mediation Board determine that 50 per cent of the union members at US Airways and American Airlines favor the Teamsters, it can set representation elections. The Teamsters union declined to comment on how many signatures it had obtained from American mechanics.

The transport workers and machinists unions blasted the move, saying the Teamsters union was looking to take members from other unions as its membership declines.

In a statement Garry Drummond, air transport director of the transport workers, called the Teamsters "a troubled union."

"In 2012, the Teamsters lost more members than any other union in the United States" and "has resorted to raiding established unions at American Airlines and US Airways," Drummond's statement added.

VW agrees to ‘hefty’ wage hike for German workers

— Volkswagen granted its German factory workers an inflation-busting pay rise on Tuesday, the latest hefty wage hike in Germany as union demands meet support from politicians seeking both to woo local voters and underpin the wider European Union (EU).

Germany faces federal elections in September which have emboldened unions to press for salary increases popular with the public.

VW's pay deal — which lifts wages 3.4 per cent from September, then by another 2.2 per cent from July 2014 — matches an agreement negotiated earlier this month by the IG Metall union for Germany's 3.7 million engineering and metal workers. Inflation is currently running at just 1.2 per cent.

VW had urged staff to settle for a "moderate" pay increase as a prolonged global slump in car sales hurts sales and profits.
"We're pushing the envelope of what's feasible, given the difficult market situation in Europe and tough international competition," VW human resources chief Horst Neumann said.

To read the full story, login below.

Not a subscriber?

Start your subscription today!