German chemical union to press for wage hike

24 November 2009 22:50  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Germany’s chemical union, IG BCE, will press for a wage increase for the country's 550,000 chemical workers in the upcoming 2010 collective bargaining round, it said on Tuesday.

The current 25-month collective bargaining deal will run out between March and May, depending on the respective federal state.

Chemical industry workers had done their part to help producers overcome the economic and financial crisis, a fact that needs to be recognised in the upcoming negotiations, the union said.

The union did not put forward a specific wage demand, but said that the increase should be "appropriate" to reflect workers' concessions during the crisis.

However, in light of the crisis, another plank in IG BCE’s negotiating strategy was to ensure employment within the industry, it said.

So far, Germany’s chemical industry had been largely successful in avoiding job cuts despite the crisis, it added.

Also, IG BCE would continue to stress the importance of traineeships for young people in its negotiations with employers, it said.

The union said it favoured a deal with duration of not more than 12 months because of the continued uncertain outlook after an unprecedented collapse in sales and production in the chemical industry this year.

Under the current 25-month collective deal reached in April 2008, employers and union agreed upon a 4.4% wage increase for 2008 and a 3.3% increase in 2009.

However, in the wake the crisis some firms renegotiated terms under opening clauses in their collective agreements.

Also, many chemical producers resorted to government-subsidised short time work programmes to cut hours while avoiding job reductions.

In related news on Tuesday, economic research institute Ifo said its business climate index improved to 93.9 in November, a 15-months high and up from 92.0 in October, suggesting that Europe's largest economy is continuing on its road to recovery.

The Ifo index is based on a monthly survey of 7,000 executives, who are asked to assess their current business situation and comment on their expectations for the next six months.

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