Ms. Ströbele, IG Metall is demanding an 8 percent wage increase. They offer a one-time payment of 3,000 euros – and no specific increase in monthly wages. Are you surprised the union is on strike?
I am particularly surprised that IG Metall pays so little attention to the 3,000 euros we are offering. After all, we are using the framework for tax and duty-free inflation compensation premiums, as decided by the government, right away and in full. In addition, our proposal also shows that we can imagine a permanent increase in the monthly fees – but only for the long term we demand, in order to be able to take the interests of both sides into account appropriately.
Above all, IG Metall is demanding an increase in monthly wages. How is this supposed to fit together?
In any case, it cannot happen that IG Metall books the offered 3,000 euros as a matter of course, which they collect in passing before the collective bargaining on the total volume is even started. The state exempts the amount from taxes and duties. But it is the companies that have to raise it. And that is extremely challenging for many in this critical economic situation.
So no higher monthly wages for the time being?
Again, it depends on the runtime. But I would ask you to first take note of the dimension of the 3000 euro inflation premium. Spread over a period of 30 months, that would be 100 euros more per month – net without deductions. The bonus has the advantage that you can focus more on the initial phase of the term. This can immediately relieve the employees noticeably. In the short term, this even helps more than an increase in monthly payments. And there is also the fact that the inflation premium in the lower tariff groups brings the greatest percentage relief. Combined with a possible increase in the table given a corresponding period of time, we create the right solution for companies and employees in several respects, planning security for everyone, quick relief for the acute situation and sustainable development for the time when things are hopefully going uphill for all of us again.
What effect does IG Metall achieve with the warning strikes?
In a nutshell: Basically, the warning strikes only waste time, energy and money. They do not change anything about the starting position of our negotiations.
Recession makes things worse
Don’t the warning strikes put pressure on you to increase supply?
In the collective bargaining round, we can only distribute what is economically available to the company. And the warning strikes do nothing to change the fact that we have to deal with a recession in terms of collective bargaining for the coming year, they only make the situation worse. And the announced all-day strikes would be an unjustifiable escalation.
How to proceed then?
After three rounds of negotiations, I can say that we accepted and understood IG Metall’s arguments. IG Metall should now understand our positions in exactly the same way. So everything is on the table to talk about. So now it’s time for IG Metall to move too. Assuming there is a serious will to reach an agreement, I don’t really see any reason why we shouldn’t find a solution within the next ten days. I’d like to be earlier too.
Should the union now publicly announce that their 8 percent requirement was too high?
I’ve bargained long enough to know it’s not going to work out that way. Real solutions can only be explored at the negotiating table, not in public. That’s why I won’t give you a specific percentage here that we as employers could propose in such a negotiation phase. And just as little do we expect IG Metall to publicly reduce its demand by x percentage points beforehand. But I do expect one thing from her: that we now enter the solution phase quickly and seriously.
Exceptions for polluted establishments
From your point of view, how important is a regulation that allows companies that are particularly under financial pressure to deviate from the general wage increase?
This is a very important point. The current crisis affects companies very differently depending on the industry and business area. This requires a solution that automatically allows such differentiation on a permanent basis with a mechanism linked to clear business indicators. Because even after the recession, the financial challenges remain great, keywords climate change and digital transformation.
Everyone is currently looking at the negotiations in the key district of Baden-Württemberg. Do you have more than a spectator role in the search for a nationwide viable solution in the north?
But of course! We want to move forward, because further delay will only harm everyone in the end. Or do you think we’re just meeting here to pass the time with Herr Friedrich, the district manager of IG Metall, and his negotiating committee?
Not that one. But aren’t the so-called pilot degrees usually achieved in the southwest or in North Rhine-Westphalia?
Every collective bargaining agreement is preceded by ongoing close coordination among all regional employers’ associations. In this respect, we as Nordmetall are constantly and actively involved in the search for a solution. But since this time we are dealing with a crisis that is affecting our industry very evenly in all regions, this time I see us on the employer side in a position and willing to negotiate the pilot agreement in a whole range of collective bargaining areas. That also applies to us here in the north.
#Wage #conflict #Metall #warning #strikes #waste #time #energy #money