German Official Wants To Implement National Minimum Wage Quicker Than Planned

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Workers form dough for the Christmas cake Original Dresdner Christstollen (Dresden Stollen) in the Morenz bakery in Dresden, eastern Germany, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. The stollen cakes contain dried fruit and are covered with sugar, usually eaten during the Christmas season. The Morenz bakery belongs to the German Association for the Protection of the Dresden Christmas Stollen which allows bakeries to produce and sell this cakes worldwide under the registered trademark"Echter Dresdner Christst | ASSOCIATED PRESS

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's new top labor 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.