Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Saturday said Germans deserved wage increases as strikes calling for pay hikes continued to hit the country.
"It's normal that salaries
rise more quickly here than in other EU countries," minister Schaeuble told German weekly Focus in an interview to be published on Monday, "...we have years of reforms behind us."
"And by raising pay, Germany would help reduce economic imbalances in Europe," the minister added.
Germany, the European Union's powerhouse economy, is often criticised for tightening internal demand through low wages and thus denying European neighbours a huge market.
And though unemployment remains at a modest 7.0 percent, strikes have proliferated in Germany's finance and industrial sectors in recent weeks as a crucial wage negotiation season continues.
On Wednesday, more than 30,000 workers from Germany's powerful IG Metall labour union joined a strike to call for a 6.5-percent pay rise.
The industrial action hit big companies such as automotive parts supplier Bosch, as well as Mercedes and Volkswagen auto makers and involved employees across the country.
In April, after several weeks of negotiations interrupted by warning strikes across the country, the two million people working in Germany's public sector secured a 6.3-percent pay hike for two years.