Public servants push for 7 percent wage hike

Public servants are pushing for a wage rise of at least 7 percent, setting the stage for a showdown with German state governments that pits a booming economy against ballooning state debt.

Public servants push for 7 percent wage hike
Photo: DPA

The German Civil Service Association (DBB) will push for the wage rise for employees of the state governments in the next round of wage negotiations, union boss Rainer Wendt told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

The union claims that after years of restraint, it is time for workers to share in the spoils of the booming economy. The lean years were over, Wendt said, and public service union members were entitled to expect a wage rise now that the economy had recovered.

Public servants have had to put up with a considerable effective loss of income in recent years through longer working hours, he said.

In a warning shot across the bow, Wendt added that employers could expect a turbulent start to next year if they rejected the reasonable proposals by the union.

“The states have to know, that the patience of the workers has come to an end and there is a mood for protest,” he said.

Lower Saxony Finance Minister Hartmut Möllring declared in August that state workers could not expect wage rises in coming years. In the face of growing state debt, government workers had to show restraint. Möllring is also chairman of the group that deals with wages for the states – and will therefore lead negotiations with the union on a new deal starting in January.

“We have to limit spending rises to 1 percent at the most,” Möllring has said in the past.

The Local/dw

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German steelworkers agree 6.5 percent pay hike after strike

Tens of thousands of steel workers in western Germany will get a 6.5-percent pay hike this year - the biggest jump in three decades - in a settlement that could set the tone for industry as inflation soars.

German steelworkers agree 6.5 percent pay hike after strike

The agreed increase would come into effect “from August 1st”, the IG Metall union in the region of North Rhine-Westphalia said in a statement Wednesday.

The 68,000 steelworkers in the industrial region would also receive a one-off payment of 500 euros for the months of June and July, the union said.

The outcome of the negotiations was “the biggest increase in wages in the steel industry in percentage terms in 30 years,” said IG Metall boss, Joerg Hofmann.

Germany’s largest union, IG Metall launched a strike action at steelworks in the west in May after management failed to meet its demands for an 8.2 percent pay increase.

On Thursday at the peak of the movement, around 16,000 workers across 50 firms downed tools, the union said.

READ ALSO: Should foreign workers join a German union?

“Rising inflation” and the “good economic situation” of the steel industry were the basis for IG Metall’s demands.

Consumer prices rose at a 7.9-percent rate in Germany in May, a record for the country since reunification in 1990 driven by the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.

The smaller number of steelworkers in the east of Germany, who are also seeking an 8.2 percent pay boost, have yet to reach their own agreement.

Negotiations are currently taking place in a number of sectors. In the textile industry, 12,000 workers in the east of Germany sealed a 5.6 percent pay increase at the beginning of May.

Meanwhile, negotiations covering the auto industry, and mechanical and electrical engineering will begin in November.

Despite the agreed rise the onus was still on government to relieve the pressure on workers form rising prices “in the coming months”, IG Metall boss Hofmann said.

Significant wage demands have prompted concerns of a wage-price spiral, where rising pay sustains higher inflation.

The European Central Bank last week said it would raise its interest rates for the first time in over a decade this July as it seeks to stamp out price rises.