The "Kneitinger Mutterhaus" at Arnulfsplatz. Directly behind it is the brewery. © Brauerei Kneitinger GmbH & Co.KG
It is a novelty in the history of the Regensburg brewery Kneitinger. On Monday, all employees stopped work.
Regensburg - Since about 1530 there is the traditional brewery Kneitinger in Regensburg. This is the first time in this almost 500-year history that there has been a strike. Early Monday morning, all employees of the brewery and logistics stopped work. "This was long overdue," says brewer Gisela Regn, who has been working at Kneitinger for 23 years.
Warning strike at Kneitinger brewery: It's about one percent more salary
Managing Director Martin Sperger, who is virtually alone in the building on Monday morning, cannot understand this step. "It was just one percent more salary. We could have sat down together again." The warning strike was "pure populism".
That's what it's all about. The Kneitinger brewery, which has been in the hands of the Sophie Kneitinger Foundation since 1991, withdrew from the area tariff of Bavarian medium-sized breweries many years ago. As a result, the in-house tariff is 182.50 euros per month below the usual salary in the industry.
When the negotiations, which have been ongoing since February, began in February, workers and the NGG union had demanded an advance increase in wages and salaries by this amount. Likewise, a general increase of twelve percent.
Warning strike at traditional Regensburg brewery: Does the price of beer have to be increased?
Gradually, they have come closer. According to managing director Sperger, the brewery's last offer was an increase of five percent for 2023 and a further four percent from 2024, plus an inflation compensation premium of 3,000 euros. Employees and the union had demanded one percent more. "Is that why we have to go on strike?" asks Sperger. "Does the union need members so badly?"
After all, Kneitinger is not a public limited company. "We also feel that everything has become more expensive." Electricity, gas, diesel, says Sperger. And they don't want to raise the price of beer this year. "That's where we're losing hectolitres."
Warning strike at Kneitinger: "Can't a foundation brewery afford 8,000 euros a year?"
Outside, workers are turning the tables. "It was clearly communicated that this was our ultimate offering," says one brewer. In any case, it is ridiculous that a company with 19 employees has not been able to submit a reasonable offer since February.
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One percent more, that's about 35 euros per month and employee – just 8,000 euros a year. "A foundation brewery should be able to afford that, but on the other hand spends millions to have a building like the Prüfeninger Schlossgarten, which doesn't even belong to us, completely renovated."
Warning strike at Kneitinger in Regensburg: beer failure of 150 hectolitres
At some point, inside the brewery, the labor lawyer Dr. Christian Schild joins them. He advises the brewery and managing director Sperger and tries to calm the waves. There is no point in getting so emotional now. Of course, the workers are allowed to go on strike – and now we have to check how to deal with their demands.
The Board of Trustees of the Sophie Kneitinger Foundation, which, according to the founder's wishes, is dedicated to supporting senior citizens and children, has the last word.
Between 100 and 150 hectolitres of beer are brewed every day at the brewery in Kreuzgasse in Regensburg, directly behind the Kneitinger parent company on Arnulfsplatz – nothing today. And almost nothing is delivered.
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Warning strike at Kneitinger: Employees want compensation for Corona renunciation
Just a warning shot, according to the employees. Just in time for the next shift at 18 p.m., they will return to work.
But then the Board of Trustees also has to move, says Gisela Regn. In December 2020, a heyday of Corona restrictions and short-time work compensation, Regn was still the motif on an advertising poster of the brewery, which thanked the "proven specialist for draught beer" with a heart and a Christmas tree ball for her commitment.
This gratitude should now also be reflected in the bank account, she demands. In favor of the company, they had waived a wage increase for a year because of Corona and did virtually the same work with fewer people. There was no increase in short-time allowance during this time.
A proposal by the Riegele brewery is that the deposit for crates and glass bottles should be raised to ten euros. Other breweries and companies agree with the proposal.
Warning strike at Kneitinger: Employee loyalty severely strained?
Basically, it's all ok. But the loyalty that exists in the workforce – people like working here – also has its limits. And they have just been exceeded.
On June 20, Kneitinger's management, employees and union secretary Reiner Reißfelder want to sit down again. It remains to be seen whether someone from the Board of Trustees will be there, who has hardly been seen at the negotiating table so far.
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