The negotiated bonuses will compensate for possible reductions in the hours worked to come in the metallurgy and automotive industries affected by the crisis.
After several weeks of very supervised strike, and ten hours of negotiation, some two million German workers in the metalworking industry are on the way to obtaining wage increases. The powerful IG Metall union concluded on Tuesday, in the region of North Rhine-Westphalia, an agreement with the employers of the branch providing for the payment of two bonuses. The first is for a fixed amount of 500 euros. The second, indexed to salary, represents 18.4% and 27.6% of monthly salary respectively in 2022 and 2023. In accordance with the rituals of German social negotiation, this compromise should soon be extended to the whole country.
Beyond the purely financial aspect, this compromise acquires a symbolic value in this period when companies are weakened by the health crisis. In the name of realism, salary negotiations had already been interrupted in March 2020 at the time of the outbreak of the pandemic, and the social partners had met later.
Lower than claims
The result in question is much lower than the initial demands of the IG Metall union (+ 4% increases) but first of all represents a guarantee for the “Future”, according to the expression of the negotiators. “In the midst of one of the most serious crises in the history of the Federal Republic, we have managed to set course for the future”, welcomed IG Metall President Jörg Hoffmann, citing a sense of « justice ». Within the works council of the car manufacturer Ford in Sarrelouis, in the Land of Sarre, which currently has massive recourse to partial unemployment, we want to be more ” careful “. “We must study this agreement”, tempers a member of the union, near the Figaro.
Baptized “Recognition bonus for the pandemic”, the subsidy of 500 euros is supposed to cushion the shortfall generated by possible subsequent reductions in working time expected in companies due to the crisis. For their part, apprentices in metallurgy currently in vocational training will benefit from a bonus of 300 euros.
“This agreement is based on the optimistic assumption that companies will recover quickly from the crisis”, tempers the president of the Employers’ Federation of Mechanics, Thilo Brodtmann. The latter wants some employers to benefit from exceptions to the collective agreement, a subject that remains a bone of contention between the social partners. The agreement reached on Tuesday will remain in effect until September 30, 2022.