Germany's IG Metall ended a week of token strikes for an 8 per cent pay rise on Friday as employers urged the engineering union to lower its demands, reported dpa.
"Job security has to take precedence over a distribution of (wealth) in pay negotiations for the year ahead," said Stefan Roell, head of the employers association in the south-west of Germany.
The union said tens of thousands of workers walked off their jobs on Friday, bringing to 400,000 the number who have downed tools in a series of running strikes that began November 1.
The union said it would not take any more action before its representatives hold a new round of pay talks with employers in the south-west town of Sindelfingen on November 11.
If no agreement is reached then the union said it would hold a strike ballot of its members and could begin all-out industrial action on November 17.
Employers have offered a 2.1 per cent hike, saying they cannot afford anymore because the country is teetering on the brink of recession.
The pay talks come at a time when carmakers Daimler, Opel and BMW have announced temporary closures of factories to save costs following a huge drop in orders.
Gloomy economic data released this week showed German industrial production at its lowest since the mid-90s and German orders recording their biggest drop since records began 17 years ago.