New top German labour official pushing for quicker minimum wage, more young members

BERLIN – Germany’s new top labour official says he will push to have the country introduce a national minimum wage quicker than planned and work to make union membership more attractive to young people.

Reiner Hoffmann, 58, was elected Monday to succeed Michael Sommer as the head of the German Trade Union Confederation or DGB — an umbrella organization that represents German unions in dealing with government authorities, political parties, employers’ organizations and others.

According to the dpa news agency, Hoffmann, who ran unopposed, says Germany needs to immediately implement the planned national minimum wage of 8.50 euros ($11.75) per hour. Current plans are to introduce it next year, and phase it in over the following two.

Hoffmann, known as a pragmatist, was an official with the industrial IG-BCE union.