New strikes in the public service could come

New strikes in the public service could come

Further work stoppages in the public service are possible in view of deep trenches in the ongoing third round of collective bargaining. The trade union verdi and the civil servants’ association dbb announced that they would discuss appropriate consequences if the talks failed.

On the other hand, employers in potsdam were optimistic on thursday. The negotiation round for federal and municipal employees is scheduled for this friday. Both sides, however, did not expect or rule out that the talks would drag into the weekend.

Federal minister of the interior horst seehofer (CSU) said: "that is our goal: that we reach an agreement in this third round."The employers had presented a very decent offer with significant increases for the care sector, for example, but also for public administration. In other sectors the situation is worse because of the corona crisis. The employers in the metal sector had even proposed two zero years.

Before the talks began in the morning, verdi head frank werneke had said: "our ideas are different, and we have to see if we can come to an understanding in the next few days, our goal is to reach a consensus."The two main points of contention are how long a new collective bargaining agreement should apply to the more than two million federal and municipal employees and how much incomes should rise. "We still have a long way to go," said the head of verdi.

Employers had offered a total of 3.5 percent increase in wages and salaries. The plus is to be given in stages – with a term of three years. The unions are demanding an increase in income of 4.8 percent, but at least 150 euros more per month – for a period of one year.

The head of negotiations for the municipal employers, luneburg’s mayor ulrich madge (SPD), said: "we are going in with the expectation that we will be able to reach an agreement by tomorrow at the latest. If it takes a day longer ? Ok, but let’s agree."The chairman of the dbb, ulrich silberbach, said that the dbb was prepared to negotiate until monday, if only the result was right.

After weeks of warning strikes at clinics, in local transport, at city halls and savings banks, the unions did not rule out further walkouts. According to them, this will also be the case if the corona pandemic continues to spread. Werneke said: "if we don’t come to a result, we will put our heads together in our decision-making bodies on sunday evening and assess the situation, taking everything into consideration, including of course the pandemic situation."Silberbach said that without a result from the negotiations, the dbb would discuss further actions.

Madge also demanded sacrifices. Despite the pandemic and the economic crisis, public employers did not announce any layoffs. "But we need a solidarity contribution among savings bank employees and want to lower the savings bank allowance a bit in the process." Altogether is under the line however even "one more" also for this group planned. It is a particular focus of the negotiations.

Madge accused the unions of a lack of "truthfulness" in some of their comments on the employers’ offer. "At the last table, we already clearly offered hospitals an increase in a nursing allowance, for example, for intensive care nurses of more than 8 percent per year. This is concealed, it is always pretended as if we had not made an offer."The discussions on individual topics are held at separate tables.

Werneke said: "from my point of view, the employers’ offer of a care allowance of 50 euros is scandalous."Overall, the employers wanted to push through a deal that would not even compensate for the rate of price increases over three years. "This is not acceptable for us."He could not yet see a loophole for an agreement on the point of contention of the term. "I don’t even see the final hole that could help us in this round of collective bargaining."