More money and more home office

Frankfurt banking skyline

The Verdi union has agreed on a new collective agreement with state and development banks and some savings banks. There is more money and agreements to work from home.

(Photo: dpa)

Frankfurt The employees of state and development banks as well as several savings banks in Germany will receive more money and will be able to work from home more often in the future. The sixth round of collective bargaining for the public banks brought about a breakthrough in talks that had been going on since the end of June last year.

As the Verdi union and the Federal Association of Public Banks (VÖB) announced on Friday, the approximately 60,000 employees are to receive a three percent increase in salary from July 1 of this year and a further increase of two percent on July 1, 2023.

The new collective agreement also provides for two one-time payments and a reduction in weekly working hours by one hour to 38 hours from January 2024. In the future, employees should be able to work up to 40 percent of their working hours on the go.

The agreement on a home office regulation is remarkable. The private banks, which have also been negotiating with Verdi since the summer, have so far rejected a collective bargaining right to work from home.

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They argue that designing mobile work requires a differentiated approach that differs depending on the business model, work organization and corporate culture. Therefore, the issue should be regulated at company level and not in an industry-wide collective agreement.

Private banks reject collective agreements for mobile working

During the corona crisis, almost all employees at many banks worked from home at times. Even when the obligation to work from home was dropped last summer, working at a desk at home dominated among German financial institutions. At a number of major banks, the office quota was only between ten and 20 percent at the time, according to a Handelsblatt survey.

The situation is different for employees in the branches. At the beginning of the corona pandemic in spring 2020, some credit institutions had closed their branches completely. But that was only a short phase.

Verdi negotiator Jan Showereck said the result was reached after very tough and lengthy negotiations. “And the pressure from the many strikes that the workers had gone on beforehand certainly contributed to this.”

Gunar Feth, negotiator for the public banks, spoke of a “really very good salary package” that noticeably cushions the consequences of inflation for the employees of the public banks and recognizes their achievements.

A total of 44 money houses belong to the tariff community of public banks. These include the large state banks, BayernLB, LBBW, Helaba and NordLB, as well as the savings bank fund service provider Deka, most of the development banks, including the state bank KfW, and numerous state building societies.

Some large savings banks such as those from Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt and Bremen as well as the Nassauische Sparkasse from Wiesbaden are also represented here.

She is hoping for compromises with private banks

Verdi went into the negotiations with a demand for 4.5 percent more money, but at least 150 euros more per month. The German Bank Employees Association (DBV) wanted 4.8 percent plus. With a view to mobile working, Verdi wanted employees to be able to work mobile for up to 60 percent of their working hours.

Duscheck now asked the employers’ association of the private banking industry: “Come back to the negotiating table.” The agreements for the public institutes and before that for the Postbank proved “that fair and viable compromises are also possible in the banking industry in these times”.

With material from agencies

More: NordLB returns to the black – and makes a mini profit in 2021

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