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The IG Metall wins: Almost nine percent more money – the employers have gambled away

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The IG Metall demanded eight percent more money, with 8.5 percent it comes off the negotiating table – how can that be? The question can be answered with time.

The astonishingly strong increase in wages by 5.2 percent for almost four million employees in the metal industry will not come until June next year and a further step of 3.3 percent will take effect in May 2024.

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This is a bet on the future: the collective bargaining partners expect the recession to end in the summer. The metallers, who are plagued by inflation today, can’t wait for that, so at the beginning of next year there will be 1500 euros of the tax and duty-free inflation bonus to at least partially finance the energy costs. Olaf Scholz sees himself confirmed.

The bonus invented by the Federal Chancellor fulfills its purpose by making it easier for the parties to collective bargaining to find compromises. The employees get quite a lot of money fairly quickly, and the employers are only later permanently burdened with the percentage increase in wages.

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On the other hand, the social systems and the tax offices lose considerable income. This is the state’s contribution to the concerted action revived by Scholz.

The parties to the collective bargaining agreement in the chemical industry had previously reached a collective agreement with the help of the inflation premium, including a 6.6 percent increase in wages. IG Metall is well above that. At least at first glance.

Percentages have priority

The priority of the largest German trade union, which negotiates the collective bargaining conditions for the leading German industry and traditionally exercises collective bargaining leadership in this country, was percentages this year, after they were last agreed in 2018.

In the meantime there have been all sorts of special payments and corona-related crisis compromises, but no permanent increases in the pay scales. This will be corrected with the conclusion of Ludwigsburg.

When the next negotiations are due in two years, the basic salaries will be almost nine percent above the current level as the basis for the next increases.

Roman Zitzelsberger (left), chief negotiator for IG Metall, and Harald Marquardt, chief negotiator for the employers, hit Ludwigsburg early on Friday morning.
© dpa/Marijan Murat

This hurts employers and goes beyond the pain threshold for some. At least if the recession extends beyond 2023. With the long term of 24 months, the employer officials talk the deal nice; and with the differentiation options for special payments.

The additional wage agreed years ago, which is due in the middle of next year in the amount of 600 euros per head, can be reduced, postponed or canceled if the company’s return is below 2.3 percent. However, that will hardly be enough to get the suffering suppliers and medium-sized companies with a high proportion of wage costs to negotiate the collective agreement, which is expensive overall.

The employers have gambled away. Two months have passed from the first negotiation to the conclusion. The first offer was delayed for far too long, so IG Metall had no trouble motivating hundreds of thousands to go on warning strikes.

With each passing day, metalworkers’ expectations rose, and metalworkers’ waiting to graduate in the chemical industry proved a mistake.

Once again, the umbrella organization Gesamtmetall, which has to coordinate the negotiations of the crucial regional associations in North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, played an unfortunate role. The public prosecutor’s investigations into the overall metal president for illegally employing a private household help were also not helpful.

You can read more Tagesspiegel texts here

The conclusion of Ludwigsburg reveals the weakness of the employers at the top of the association. IG Metall is better positioned and will be spoiled for choice at the trade union conference in autumn 2023 when it comes to Jörg Hofmann’s successor. The Baden-Württemberger Hofmann is an excellent collective bargaining politician with solid macroeconomic knowledge.

This also applies to Roman Zitzelsberger, who negotiated the conclusion of Ludwigsburg and has already succeeded Hofmann as district manager of Baden-Württemberg. Zitzelsberger wants to become IG Metall boss, but so does the current second chairwoman, Christiane Benner.

If Hofmann succeeds in organizing an amicable successor with these two, he will appear as a successful chairman in the history books of IG Metall.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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