Collective agreement in the steel industry: 6.5 percent more money
A worker cleans a pig iron ladle in the Salzgitter AG steel works.
In the steel industry, thousands have taken to the streets in recent weeks to increase the pressure on employers. But there will be no growth before the wage war.
Dusseldorf. After difficult negotiations and warning strikes, IG Metall and employers have agreed on a new collective agreement for a large part of the German steel industry.
As of August 1, wages and salaries are to rise by 6.5 percent, according to the Steel Union and Employers’ Association in Düsseldorf. The contract runs for 18 months and starts in June. For the first two months, employees receive a one-time payment of EUR 500, and trainees receive EUR 200.
The collective agreement applies to North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Bremen, where 68,000 people work in the industry. East Germany is expected to adopt the guidelines of the collective bargaining partners. For the validity of a collective agreement, the approval of the collective bargaining committee of IG Metall is still required. The coming weeks will give a picture of the mood of the workforce in the companies, after which the unions have to make their final commitments – it will happen, it is almost certain. The employer side has already approved the paper.
Warning strike in many cities
Thousands of workers in cities like Salzgitter, Bremen, Bochum and Duisburg have taken part in warning strikes in recent weeks to persuade employers to give up. Most recently, he had offered a 4.7 percent increase over a 21-month period. IG Metall, on the other hand, had asked for 8.2 percent more money for a one-year term. After a nine-hour fourth round of talks, the bargaining parties met early Wednesday morning roughly in the middle of these positions.
Gerhard Erdmann, board member of the Steel Employers’ Association, said after the agreement that the tariff increase was “at the upper limit of what is reasonable”. It is expected that economic risks – such as global supply chain problems and the consequences of the Ukraine war – will not fully affect the steel industry. “If this is the case, the collective bargaining partners must find a solution.”
Biggest increase in 30 years
NRW Nat Geisler, chairwoman of IG Metall, was satisfied. “In times of high inflation, we achieved a negotiation result that immediately brought a significant increase of 6.5 percent in the wallets of the employees.” This is the highest percentage growth in the steel industry for 30 years. “With this result, the employees are duly involved in what is currently the best economic environment in the industry.”
The old, expired collective agreement was agreed in March 2021, when IG Metall put the increase at around two percent and spoke of a real wage increase. Looking back, you can see how times have changed: Back then, inflation wasn’t a big issue – today it’s very different.
© dpa-infocom, dpa:220615-99-668960/2