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German strike nears end in workweek compromise

West Germany's metalworkers' union and employers agreed Thursday to end the country's worst labor conflict with a compromise 90-minute cut in the 40-hour working week, spokesmen for both sides said.

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The deal, worked out this week by a special arbitration panel, was ratified at separate meetings of the IG Metall union national executive and the employers' association Gesamtmetall.

Officials said the union would ballot members in the region for approval today and on Monday, allowing a return to work on Tuesday.

Porsche, BMW, Opel, Audi, and Ford assembly lines have been halted by a series of strikes, lockouts, and layoffs during the dispute, which idled more than 400,000 workers. The strike began May 14.

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