Heil plans to ban packages over 20 kilograms

BFederal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) has announced a significant minimum wage increase for 2024. “Work must be worth it,” Heil told the “Bild am Sonntag” according to a preliminary report. “That is why there will be another minimum wage increase next January. I expect a significant increase.” The Minimum Wage Commission will make a proposal to him in the summer. Heil justified a noticeable increase in the minimum wage with the high inflation and ordinary tariff increases, which would be reflected in the setting of the minimum wage.

The Minimum Wage Commission submits a proposal to the government every two years. Most recently, the minimum wage was increased from 10.45 euros to 12 euros per hour on October 1st. The government had decided on this one-time step and not the commission set up specifically for this purpose.

Less burden for parcel carriers

In addition, Heil wants to improve the working conditions of parcel couriers and enforce a ban on parcels over 20 kilograms. “Parcels that weigh more than 20 kilograms will have to be delivered by two people in the future,” said Heil. “This is about the health of people who make our everyday lives easier with their work and keep the country running.”

Many parcel carriers would get herniated discs. “That’s why I want to enforce that packages that weigh more than 20 kilograms no longer have to be towed by one person alone.” The Verdi services union had also called for such a weight limit. In the future, there should be a labeling requirement for parcels weighing more than ten kilograms, “so that the courier can see immediately what he can expect.”

Heil wants to enforce this in the amendment to the postal law, which the Federal Ministry of Economics is currently working on. He expects Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) to present the draft before the end of this year. The Postal Act was last fundamentally revised in 1999 – at a time when letters were much more important than they are today and parcels only played a secondary role.

Heil referred to the great growth in the parcel industry. “From 2017 to 2021, the number rose from 2.6 to 4.5 billion packages.” It is also convenient to “buy everything online from your sofa and have it delivered to your front door”. His family also orders online, the minister said. “So I’m benefiting from it and don’t want to criticize it at all. But we also have to deal with the question of what happens to the employees who lug a heavy package up to the 5th floor.”

Fewer cleaning staff should work at night

Better working conditions should also apply to cleaning staff in federal authorities in the future. “In my ministry, the cleaning staff no longer have to work at night. I want to make that standard across all federal agencies. It’s good for everyone to see who’s doing their own dirt,” said Heil.

Currently, cleaning staff often have to work at night. “Often with consequences for health and family and with the result that you don’t see them anymore. And that their work is less appreciated because it supposedly happens as if by magic. But it’s people scrubbing at very grueling times.”

Tariff loyalty law for federal orders

Furthermore, Heil only wants to award federal orders to companies that pay according to tariffs. “By June, I will present a bill with Economics Minister Robert Habeck that stipulates adherence to collective bargaining agreements in the federal government,” he said. If the federal government commissions construction work, awards cleaning jobs or organizes an event, then the orders should only be awarded to companies that comply with the collective agreement. “The federal contractors must grant their employees all the provisions of the industry collective agreement – ​​from wage levels to bonuses and vacation to Christmas bonuses. If we as a state spend tax money, then entrepreneurs who don’t pay their people properly should no longer be allowed to benefit from it,” says Heil.

The law should come into force on January 1, 2024 “if everything goes well in the Bundestag”. In the coalition agreement, the SPD, Greens and FDP agreed in autumn 2021 to make the award of public contracts dependent on companies paying according to tariffs. The coalition wants to achieve that more employees fall under collective agreements.

Collective bargaining coverage has been steadily declining for many years. According to the Federal Statistical Office, industry or company collective agreements applied to around 54 percent of employees in western Germany in 2021, which was 22 percentage points less than in 1998. In the east, collective bargaining coverage for employees fell from 63 to 45 percent.

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