The employees waive part of their pay
Here’s how: The employees forego around 10 percent of their wages. In return, they have the management’s promise that the approximately 1,100 jobs will be safe by mid-2023. Mark Hiller, managing partner, is pleased that this agreement “met with broad approval”: In a survey, 95 percent of union members in the company voted in favor (almost 80 percent cast their vote). The works council chairwoman Maria Schwarz is also satisfied: “The top priority during the negotiations was job security, we succeeded to the full.” Meanwhile, construction is under way at the headquarters: Among other things, a fire laboratory and a crash facility are being built here, which will go into operation in the middle of this year should.
There are signs of recovery in the vehicle industry
There are also signs of recovery in the auto industry and its suppliers. In order to stay on course after the slump in demand, the family company Witzenmann, for examplewith headquarters in Pforzheim, a specialist in flexible metallic elements, developed a new model. Employees from the entire group of companies worked on it. In essence, it is about moving from a manufacturer of flexible parts to a specialist in the management of media and energy. In the future, Witzenmann also wants to offer applications for electric cars in the passenger car sector. Efficiency is to be increased in all business areas and digitization promoted.
But the global economy is still characterized by great uncertainties
Mechanical and plant engineering, which is particularly important for Baden-Württemberg, is also drawing new courage: After the industry had to put up with a production decline of 14 percent across Germany in 2020, the industry association VDMA is expecting an increase of 4 percent for the current year.
There is also a “but” hanging over this forecast: the great uncertainty surrounding the global economy is particularly affecting mechanical and plant engineering as an investment goods industry. “Liquidity bottlenecks in an upswing will be the real challenge in 2021,” explains VDMA President Karl Haeusgen – in other words: It can be difficult for companies to remain solvent. So it is now crucial for many companies to keep their costs within limits.
Employers are demanding relief from labor costs
That is why the current collective bargaining round is so important in the M + E industry. The employers strictly reject the wage demands of IG Metall, instead wanting to achieve a reduction in labor costs for the companies. The entrepreneur Hans-Jörg Vollert from Vollert Anlagenbau from Weinsberg says: “At the moment we are doing everything we can to secure jobs. A third of all companies in the M + E industry are currently writing losses – a wage increase would torpedo these efforts. “