Collective bargaining for the federal and local governments: start without a solution


The first wage negotiations for federal and local employees have been unsuccessful. Warning strikes are possible.

Nancy Faeser, the Federal Minister of the Interior, greets Frank Wernike, Chairman of verdi, with a smile - Karin Welge looks on

Before the negotiations, the mood was still good: Verdi boss Wernicke welcomed Interior Minister Faeser Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/dpa

POTSDAM afp | To start the Collective bargaining for the approximately 2.5 million employees The federal and local governments have not indicated a solution to the collective bargaining conflict. The service union Verdi and the German Civil Service Association (DBB) called for a wage increase of 10.5 percent for a period of twelve months at the beginning of the wage round in Potsdam due to the high inflation, but at least 500 euros more monthly salary. Representatives of the federal government and local authorities rejected the request with reference to the budgetary situation.

Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) said that employees expected appropriate responses to the energy crisis and inflation. However, a collective bargaining agreement must also take into account the federal government’s relief packages. In addition, public employers should only be charged to the extent that they can still fill vacancies.

Karin Welge (SPD), President of the Association of Municipal Employers’ Associations (VKA) and Mayor of Gelsenkirchen in North Rhine-Westphalia, made it clear that she was aiming for a collective bargaining agreement without arbitration in the third round of negotiations at the end of March. The federal government and municipalities did not initially submit an employer offer.

In front of the conference hotel, members of Verdi and DBB demonstrated for higher wages at the start of the negotiations. “We are going into these collective bargaining with confidence, there is broad support among public sector employees for our demands,” said Verdi federal boss Frank Werneke before the start of the negotiations.

There is a massive burden on employees because of vacancies, “because the public sector pays too badly,” added Werneke. Since the previous collective bargaining agreement in 2020, prices have risen by eleven percent, but wages have fallen significantly less.

Inflation has a hard social imbalance. “That has to be made up for, the prices continue to rise,” said Werneke, “that we in the public sector are capable of action and strikes across the board should be known”.

Peace obligation expires on Wednesday

Employers must quickly “submit a specific and negotiable offer,” demanded DBB chairman Ulrich Silberbach. “Price hike is real, work intensification is real, staff shortage is real,” he said.

The President of the Taxpayers’ Association, Reiner Holznagel, warned the collective bargaining partners in the Rheinische Post before graduating too high. The federal government is deep in debt, and the municipalities are also suffering from oppressive spending.

Excessive collective agreements with subsequent transfer to the ever-growing civil service inevitably lead either to higher debts or increasing tax burdens for citizens and companies, Holznagel told the newspaper.

The peace obligation of the unions expires on Wednesday. warning strikes would be then immediately possible. The collective bargaining round for the federal and local public services is to be continued on February 22nd and 23rd and from March 27th to 29th.



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