DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - Labour union Verdi threatened to call on 34,000 workers at Metro's Real hypermarkets in Germany to stage further industrial action in protest over a wage agreement that it said would result in 23 percent lower pay for new hires.
Having given up on efforts to agree a wage deal with Verdi for workers at the struggling Real chain after two years of talks, Metro had sought an alternative agreement through the AHD employers' association, saying it needed to achieve competitive personnel costs.
Real said it saw no need to discuss the issue with Verdi.
"We will decide how to proceed in the autumn," Verdi representative Silke Zimmer said as Real workers across the country staged a day-long strike on Friday.
More than 1,200 employees of 65 Real stores took part in a rally outside Metro's headquarters in Duesseldorf and others went on strike in Berlin and in the eastern German state of Thuringia, Verdi said, without providing numbers.
In its financial year to Sept. 30 Metro's 282 Real outlets posted a 3.1 percent decline in sales and a 24 percent drop in operating profit.
Verdi has criticised the new wage agreement, saying that Metro was trying to get out of commitments made on job security and investments while paying new hires less, scrapping Christmas bonuses and cutting extra pay for night shifts.
It demands that Real's management return to the previous agreement, which had been negotiated with Verdi.
Real meanwhile said on Friday its new hires received pay in line with the market and that it saw no need to discuss the issue with Verdi as the company had a valid wage deal with AHD.
(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Arno Schuetze and Louise Heavens)