The third round of collective bargaining in the public sector is scheduled for Thursday and Friday. Ifo President Fuest pleads for moderate wage increases. The German Association of Cities, however, criticizes the planned warning strikes.
In view of the economic slump and declining tax revenues, Ifo President Clemens Fuest has pleaded for moderate wage increases in the public sector. “There are more weighty arguments in favor of a moderate wage round than for a strong increase,” he said in Munich on Monday. “The adjustment should be differentiated.” In areas in which the civil service has difficulties in recruiting qualified personnel, more leeway for better pay would be useful, he said.
At the same time, Fuest referred to the corona-induced empty coffers of the municipalities. “The economy is paralyzed and tax revenues are collapsing. From 2009 to 2018, he said, the public sector’s collective wages rose by around 24 percent in nominal terms. The overall economic average was 25 percent – in other words, not much more. In addition, public sector employees are currently benefiting from job security. This, too, is an argument for restraint in wage increases, which must also be financed by those taxpayers who fear for their jobs.
The third round of negotiations in the public service is scheduled for Thursday and Friday. On Monday there should be more warning strikes at municipal institutions nationwide. Among other things, nurses and other employees in the large Berlin clinics Charité and Vivantes were called on to stop working.
The employers had offered a total of 3.5 percent higher wages and salaries in three annual stages for the approximately 2.5 million employees. The unions are demanding a 4.8 percent increase in wages and salaries over a one-year period, but at least 150 euros more per month for nursery nurses, bus drivers, garbage workers, city hall employees and numerous other employees.
German association of cities criticizes warning strikes before third round of collective bargaining
Before the third round of collective bargaining in the public sector at federal and local level, the German Association of Cities and Towns has sharply criticized the warning strikes planned for the beginning of the week. “In these difficult Corona times, people are burdened enough and do not need massive disruptions in bus and rail traffic,” said Helmut Dedy, Chief Executive of the Association of German Cities and Towns, to the “Rheinische Post”. “And strikes in hospitals are inappropriate for me right now. The third round of negotiations is scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
“The employers have presented an offer that is quite respectable”, said Dedy. The chief negotiator for the municipal employers (VKA), Ulrich Mädge, told the “Stuttgarter Zeitung” and the “Stuttgarter Nachrichten”: “We want to get through this week – in two days if possible”.
The chief negotiator for Verdi and the dbb Beamtenbund, Frank Werneke, told the newspaper “Augsburger Allgemeine”: “We will only reach an agreement if the employers in the third round of negotiations in Potsdam make a clear overall improvement. The proposals made so far are absolutely disappointing, he said. One of the focal points of the warning strikes this Monday is Bavaria.