Public service: collective bargaining parties agree

Status: 04/23/2023 01:04 am

After several hours of negotiations, the federal government, local authorities and unions have agreed on more money for public sector employees. Possible indefinite strikes are thus off the table.

In the collective bargaining dispute in the public sector, the federal government, local authorities and unions have agreed on more money for the 2.5 million employees. This was announced by Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser after several hours of negotiations in Potsdam.

According to Faeser, a “good and fair collective bargaining agreement” was reached. Among other things, the agreement provides for tax and duty-free special payments totaling 3,000 euros in several stages. EUR 1,240 of this should already flow this June, and a further EUR 220 each in the months from July to February 2024.

The solution is based on the arbitration process

As of March 1, 2024, the fees are to be increased by an amount of 200 euros in a first step. In a second step, the increased amount should increase again linearly by 5.5 percent – the increase should be 340 euros in any case. The term of the agreement is to be 24 months.

When it came to finding a solution, the parties to the collective bargaining agreement largely followed the compromise proposal from the arbitration proceedings that ended a week ago.

4.95 billion euros in total costs for the federal government

“We have to attract more skilled workers. That’s why I think it’s also about making the public service more attractive overall,” said the SPD politician. This was also achieved with the collective bargaining agreement.

At the same time, the strained budgetary situation had to be kept in mind. “Here, too, I can say that we succeeded,” said Faeser. The federal government’s total costs for a period of 24 months would be around 4.95 billion euros.

The solution found poses particular challenges for the many cash-strapped municipalities in Germany. The President of the Association of Municipal Employers’ Associations, Karin Welge, had estimated the additional costs for cities and municipalities on the basis of the arbitration proposal at 17 billion euros before the negotiations.

Indefinite strikes are off the table

The trade union Ver.di announced that a member survey was now being started. The Federal Tariff Commission will then decide on May 15th. According to Ver.di boss Frank Werneke, the negotiations were not easy. “With our decision to make this compromise, we went to the pain threshold,” he said.

A strike ballot among the unions and possible indefinite strikes are off the table with the agreement. The bargaining parties had been negotiating with each other for months. Again and again, the employee representatives had paralyzed administrations, city cleaning and swimming pools with nationwide warning strikes. At the end of March, Ver.di, together with the railway and transport unions, brought both rail and air traffic to a standstill nationwide during a large-scale warning strike.

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