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Salary comparison: East Germans earn less and work longer


Employees in East Germany, according to a study, earn less than those in the West with the same qualifications - and they work longer. In addition, IG Metall failed to introduce a 35-hour week in the East.

Almost 30 years after reunification, employees in East Germany earn on average significantly less than employees in West Germany: the pay gap for employees in the same job, of the same gender and with comparable experience is 16.9 percent. This emerges from an investigation of the union-friendly Hans Böckler Foundation.

Experts had evaluated around 175,000 data records of the portal for the Institute of Economic and Social Sciences of the Foundation. The data is based on a continuous online survey of workers in Germany. It also emerged that there are also clear wage differences between the eastern German states:

  • In Brandenburg , the backlog, also due to the prosperous surrounding of Berlin, compared to the West with 13.9 percent lowest, it says in the study.
  • The bottom bracket in the East is Saxony , where earnings are 18.2 percent below the level for comparable activities in the West.
  • In Berlin , which can not be clearly assigned due to its special status, the gap to the West is 4.5 percent .

According to the study, the wage gap is particularly high among employees who have acquired a commercial training or further technical qualification after completing their training. Employees in East Germany earn 18.4 percent less here than in the West. On the other hand, for jobs that generally require a university degree, the gap is 15.4 percent .

In the East, there are fewer collective agreements

In addition to differences in economic power, the lower the prevalence of collective bargaining is, according to the researchers, a major reason for the wage gap in East Germany. "The collective bargaining unions have now been able to enforce a far-reaching alignment between East and West," says WSI tariff expert Malte Lübker. Thus, the tariff level in East Germany in 2018 was 97.6 percent of the West.

"But collective agreements can only work where they are also applied," said Lübker. He referred to calculations by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), according to which 2018 in the new countries, only 45 percent of employees were paid by a collective agreement. By contrast, 56 percent had been in the West.

more on the subject

Salary Atlas 2019Thus, employees in Germany earn a lot

More work is being done in the East

Not only less money, but on average longer working hours - this is also the norm for employees in East Germany compared to employees in the West. This is shown by data from the statistical offices of the federal and state governments, which the left-wing parliamentary group has evaluated.

Employees in the western German states, therefore, averaged 1295 working hours last year. In the East with Berlin it was 1351 hours - and 56 more . If Berlin is counted to the west, in the east it is even 61 hours more.

IG Metall breaks off negotiations over 35-hour week

The IG Metall trade union currently sees little chance of formally reducing working hours in the East, at least in its sector. She broke off negotiations on an introduction of the 35 -hour week in the tariff areas Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony on Monday evening - because she saw no possibility of agreement with the employers.

After ten hours of negotiations, the union declared the talks on the 35-hour week in the metal and electronics industry "in this form to be over". It was "clear that employers do not want the 35-hour week in East Germany," informs IG Metall. Already achieved negotiations progress had been withdrawn on Monday from the employer.

"After a conversation marathon over one and a half years, the employers deliberately destroy the collective bargaining agreement in East Germany and continue to block social unity," criticized Olivier Höbel, district manager of Berlin-Brandenburg-Sachsen, IG Metall. The workforce would not "put up with it". "Now we will go into operation for shorter working hours," Höbel said.

In eastern Germany, employees in the metal and electrical industry work 38 hours a week. In the West, the 35-hour week following a 1984 strike was introduced in several steps until 1995.

Source: spiegel

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