Collective bargaining parties agree on “bridging payment” – and want to continue negotiations from October

Protest action by chemical workers in the Frankfurt-Höchst industrial park

Employers and the union want to continue negotiating a percentage wage increase from October.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin In the collective bargaining for the approximately 580,000 employees in the chemical industry, the employers’ association BAVC and the trade union IG BCE have agreed on a “breathing space”. In view of the uncertainty about the further development of the Ukraine war and the price increase, the employees will initially receive a “bridging payment” of 1,400 euros in May. In October, both sides want to continue the negotiations and talk about a possible percentage increase.

“This is the right answer to the maximum uncertainty that we have experienced since Putin’s invasion,” said BAVC chief negotiator Hans Oberschulte. “To argue about percentages now would not do justice to the seriousness of the situation.

“This interim solution is anything but our wishful thinking,” emphasized IG-BCE negotiator Ralf Sikorski. But it offers the opportunity to wait for the geopolitical and economic developments of the coming months and to continue the collective bargaining round in the fall on the basis of hopefully clearer data.

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The union had agreed to its demand on February 22 – two days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In view of the galloping prices, she wanted to achieve an increase in purchasing power for the employees, but had waived a specific percentage requirement.

According to IG-BCE information, the bridging payment of 1400 euros corresponds to an average of 5.3 percent of an annual salary across all salary groups. Companies in economic difficulties can reduce the payment to 1000 euros. According to the tariff compromise, trainees receive 500 euros.

Shift workers receive a uniform allowance

The social partners have also found solutions for the other demands made by the union. From July, shift workers will receive a uniform bonus of 20 percent, which according to IG BCE corresponds to a wage increase of 1.7 percent. So far, the surcharges have been 15 or 20 percent, depending on whether the shift work is regular or irregular. The union had demanded an increase to a uniform 25 percent.

In order to support trainees who need support, the chemical social partners are investing three million euros in a new support program limited to two years. Funding of up to 1000 euros is possible for each trainee. Both sides could not agree on a regulation for mobile working. However, they agreed to commission a study on the practice of mobile working, the results of which should be available in 2023.

In addition, BAVC and IG BCE want to create collective agreements for a so-called social partner model for company pension schemes by the end of June.

More on this: Employer negotiator Oberschulte: High energy prices affect companies and employees alike

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