German rubber workers press for wage hike despite recession

19 November 2009 16:24  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Workers in Germany’s rubber industry will press for a wage increase, despite the recession, chemical union IG BCE said on Thursday.

“We will not accept a zero-wage round,” the union said in the run-up to wage talks due to begin on 25 November.

The union acknowledged the crisis’ impact, with producers in the industry having to cope with sales declines of almost 20%.

However, the industry had overcome the trough and there were signs of recovery, the union said. It pointed in particular to improved vehicle sales, which, in turn, were supporting the sale of winter tyres, it said.

At the same time, the new collective bargaining agreement should not run longer than 12 months, as nobody could precisely predict how quickly producers would recover, it said.

IG BCE did not put forward a specific wage demand but said that wages in the industry needed to ensure a “real” increase to reflect overall trends in German wages and salaries.

It added that workers in the industry had made concessions during the crisis, including short time work, and that employers needed to recognise this in the upcoming negotiations.

IG BCE also said it would press for the equal treatment of all workers in the industry. Even 20 years after Germany’s reunification, there were still significant difference in pay between workers in the eastern states and their western counterparts, it said.

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