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Daycare centers, buses, rubbish: are there warning strikes in the public sector?


Daycare centers, buses, rubbish: This Tuesday begins "tough" collective bargaining in the public sector at federal and local level - with the highest wage demands in decades. The most important things at a glance.

Enlarge image

That's how it was in 2020: Demonstration during the collective bargaining in the public sector at the federal and local levels

Photo: Fabian Sommer / dpa

The requirement

The unions want a salary increase of 10.5 percent, but at least 500 euros a month.

Above all, middle and lower income groups would benefit from this.

Below an income of around 4760 euros, a wage increase of 500 euros means more than 10.5 percent salary increase.

In the case of entry-level salaries in the lowest wage brackets, this could account for more than 20 percent.

The remuneration of trainees, students and interns is to be increased by 200 euros.

In addition, trainees are to be taken on for an unlimited period after successfully completing their training.

Salaries are to be negotiated again after twelve months.

The unions have so far rejected tax-free one-off payments, as with other wage agreements in 2022.

Who is negotiating for?

For over 2.5 million people in hundreds of professions, from nurses to administrative employees and educators to garbage workers.

First of all, there are the 2.4 million employees in the public service of the municipalities and their economic operations and companies, such as waterworks or transport companies, and around 148,000 employees at the federal level.

There are also around 111,000 trainees at the municipalities and around 6,000 at the federal government.

more on the subject

  • Public service before collective bargaining round: "We can't afford it like this" by Markus Dettmer

  • Public service: Ver.di and the Civil Service Association demand 10.5 percent more money

  • "We're lagging behind when it comes to pay": Civil Servants' Association defends demand for higher wages in the public sector

  • After New Year's Eve riots: the civil servants' association criticizes "window speeches" in politics

There is also always the question of transferring the degree to federal civil servants, i.e. a good 360,000 active civil servants and around 187,000 pensioners.

Indirectly, the collective bargaining round with its signal character influences the income of other areas of the public service such as the Federal Employment Agency or the German pension insurance.

Who it's not about

There is no negotiation for the more than one million employees in the federal states.

Until the beginning of the new millennium, the federal, state and local governments conducted negotiations together. Since 2006 there has been a separate collective agreement for the public sector in the states, the current one runs until the end of September of this year.

Likewise, the salary of civil servants in the municipalities is based on the laws of the respective federal states.

who is sitting at the table

The Ver.di service trade union, the DBB civil servants' association and the collective bargaining union negotiate on behalf of the employees.

Ver.di also represents the education and science union, the police union and the IG Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt.

For Ver.di the negotiators are the chairman Frank Werneke and his deputy Christine Behle, for the DBB it is the chairman Ulrich Silberbach.

The chief negotiator for the federal government is Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Fraeser (SPD) and for the municipalities Karin Welge (SPD), President of the Association of Municipal Employers' Associations (VKA).

The position of the unions

They justify the highest wage demands for decades in the public sector with the high inflation rates, which in 2022 were sometimes over the ten percent mark.

Energy and food were the main price drivers.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, consumer prices rose by an annual average of 7.9 percent compared to the previous year.

In addition, there is a need to catch up, says Ver.di boss Werneke - due to real wage losses in the past two years after the last conclusion in 2020: "It's about securing the real income of all employees and the economic existence of employees with rather low incomes." The unions wanted to respond to constantly rising prices »with permanently effective tariff developments«.

In addition, there is already a lack of specialists in the public service, around 360,000 says DBB boss Silberbach.

1974 public sector strike: Highest demand in decades

Photo: AP

The position of employers

"We can't afford that, and neither can many other municipalities," said VKA President Welge, who is also the mayor of Gelsenkirchen, in SPIEGEL.

The employers find the demand unacceptable.

Inflation and energy costs would burden the municipalities as well as the employees, in addition there would be high old debts and an investment backlog of 159 billion euros.

According to the VKA, the demand would mean 15.4 billion euros more per year for the municipalities.

The federal government puts its additional costs at 4.7 billion euros annually if such a degree were transferred to all civil servants, but also to judges, soldiers and pension recipients.

How it goes on

At the start of the negotiations, the employers did not submit an offer.

The dates for the next two rounds of negotiations have already been set: on 22./23.

February and from March 27th to 29th, also in Potsdam.

It remains to be seen whether there will be an agreement by then.

However, it should be considered agreed that citizens at least have to prepare for warning strikes – and soon.

“Unfortunately, the bad habit of not making any serious offers until the last night of negotiations has caught on.

Anyone who acts like this shouldn't complain about warning strikes," says Ver.di boss Werneke.

Warning strikes are "effectively possible from January 25," his colleague Behle assists.

If there were warning strikes, all areas of public service would be affected.

Some time ago, DBB boss Silberbach promised "tough negotiations" and did not rule out "widespread strikes" if employers kept their foot on the brakes.

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2023-01-24

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