Income: Heil wants to present a package to strengthen collective bargaining

Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) wants to stop the increasing decline in collective bargaining coverage in Germany with a new law next year.

Income: Heil wants to present a package to strengthen collective bargaining

Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) wants to stop the increasing decline in collective bargaining coverage in Germany with a new law next year.

"We will work to ensure that there is a collective bargaining package that is to be decided next year," Heil told the German Press Agency in Berlin on Friday.

Before the increase in the statutory minimum wage to 12 euros this Saturday, Heil said: "It is right and good that we have now raised the minimum wage significantly, as important as it is to ensure that there are more decent wages above the minimum wage again standard wages." The federal government will ensure, for example, that public contracts from the federal government will only go to companies that pay according to tariffs, Heil affirmed.

Less collective bargaining coverage in the East

According to the latest figures from the Federal Statistical Office, the employment relationship is regulated by a collective agreement for only around 44 percent of employees in Germany. For 47 percent of employees in the West and 55 percent in the East there was no collective agreement today. In 1998, 76 percent of employees in western Germany still had a collective agreement, and 63 percent in eastern Germany.

Stefan Körzell from the board of directors of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) demanded: "We are counting on the federal government to take action quickly and strengthen collective agreements, as provided for in the coalition agreement." In the future, the prerequisite for the award of the federal government must be that a representative collective agreement of the respective industry is observed. "The entire collective agreement must be applied, including by any subcontractors." Effective controls and, if necessary, sanctions are then also necessary.

The managing director of the employers' association BDA, Steffen Kampeter, reacted to the announcement with criticism of Heil. "The fact that Federal Labor Minister Heil announced a package before the dialogue with the social partners had even begun shows an unusual understanding of freedom of association and collective bargaining autonomy," Kampeter told the dpa. Collective bargaining coverage can only be strengthened in dialogue with the social partners. "We are open to dialogue, but not when the results are already known."

When asked whether the minimum wage increase will fizzle out in the face of rising energy prices and the cost of living, Heil said: "No, that's not the case." For most people who benefit from it, the increase is the biggest wage increase in their lives - "measured by 22 percent compared to last year". Measured against the most recent minimum wage increase on July 1 to 10.45 euros, it is still 15 percent. "Well, thank God it's above the inflation rate, but inflation still eats up a lot of purchasing power, especially for low earners."

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