Keitel told the Stern magazine, “the bank sector paid wages which were not connected to creating real worth. That led to catastrophic exaggerations. I am also not of the opinion of some investment bankers – that one has to pay exorbitantly high wages in order to get good people.
“There are clever heads in other places – for example in industry. Some finance people have created their own personnel market. I do not think that is acceptable.”
Keitel, formerly a manager at construction giant Hochtief and currently a control board member at Commerzbank and Thyssen Krupp, came close to predicting wage rises for ordinary workers during this year.
Responding to a question about the demands by various unions for increased wages, he said, “We will have different tariffs at the end of this year than in last year. Certainly in one or the other area there is the need for catching up for workers – particularly because the state took the most money from earned income during the last upswing.”
And when asked whether he thought it was justified that in the last few years manager pay had increased substantially while workers had to swallow reductions, he said, “There were certainly cases in which managers were excessive.
“But the last two years showed that today the discussion of manager remuneration is much more responsible than in the past. First only the income of the board as a whole was published, then that of the chairmen but not the colleagues – where did all that lead? The wages were continually matched upwards.”
He said that although workers’ wages had only increased by a couple of percent in the first half of last year – while profits generally rose by around 20 percent, workers had not only been the losers. He said 100,000 new jobs had been created which was good for workers.
“We must see that we do something for everyone who contributes something. That is the broad mass of the workers, such as the specialists, the polishers, they are not stashing away small fortunes,” he added.
But when asked whether the BDI would be calling for tax reductions, he said no, that those complaining about the half of households in Germany earning so little that they do not pay tax, but still have to pay pension and health insurance were still well off compared to many places.