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Union chief upbeat on prospects for deal in German wage talks

Union chief upbeat on prospects for deal in German wage talks

Thomson Reuters BERLIN (Reuters) – The head of Germany’s public sector union said he was upbeat about reaching a compromise with employers in a third round of wage talks due to begin on Sunday, after a week of strikes by more than 150,000 union members.
Verdi leader Frank Bsirske told German newspaper Handelsblatt the two sides had been far apart in the previous two rounds of wage talks, but he was more optimistic going into the third round.
Verdi, with 2.3 million members, and the dbb assocation of civil servants, which represents 344,000 public servants, have been pressing for a pay raise of 6 percent for their next 12-month contract, or least 200 euros more a month.
Ulrich Silberbach, head of the dbb and the lead negotiator for the labour side, said the unions were ready to negotiate, but it was up to Seehofer to present a counter-offer. “After the long negotiations on forming a government, we can’t afford to also have long wage conflicts,” he said in a statement.
Verdi’s Bsirske said surging German tax revenues meant the pay deal should definitely be higher than one struck two years ago, when workers got an initial 2.4 percent increase, followed by a 2.35 percent increase. “Last time we had a 2 before the comma.
Inflation edged up to 1.5 percent in March.
Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, is in solid shape, with buoyant tax revenues and a record budget surplus.
Falling unemployment, inflation-busting pay rises and low borrowing costs are fuelling a consumer-led upswing.

Stocks look to finish week on an upbeat note

Stocks look to finish week on an upbeat note

Themis Trading Partner and co-founder Joseph Saluzzi and Acceletrade CEO Abhishek Gupta discuss whether high-frequency trading, which allows for large trades in very short periods of time, is to blame for the wild market price swings.
Equity markets were trading higher Friday as the dollar slipped and Treasuries climbed, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 still appeared to be headed for a weekly loss.
Investors digested the Federal Reserve’s semi-annual monetary policy report to Congress this morning ahead of newly appointed chair Jerome Powell’s testimony to Congress next week.
The officials noted that the federal funds rate is likely to remain below long-term levels for some time, adding that the growth of labor compensation has been “moderate.” Investors were also monitoring new reading on U.S. jobs.
On Thursday, the Labor Department said the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dipped to near a 45-year low last week, falling 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000.
The Dow was up by triple digits on Friday, while the Nasdaq and S&P 500 were also higher.
In commodities, oil futures advanced, while gold slipped into negative territory.