Germany chems industry strength offers room for wage hikes: union

26 September 2013 17:09  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The continued strength of Germany’s chemicals industry is offering room for higher wages in the upcoming collective bargaining round, the country’s energy and chemicals union, IG BCE, said on Thursday.

The chemical industry’s three main regional collective bargaining agreements will expire between 31 December 2013 and 28 February 2014. Under the existing 19-month collective framework deal from 2012, workers got a 4.5% wage hike.

IG BCE said that its most recent a survey of works councils in 668 chemical firms showed the industry is performing well.

The union said the survey showed that 19% of firms were in a "very good" current business situation and 43% were in a "good" situation. Only 2% of the firms found themselves in a “very bad” situation.

For 2014, 3% of the firms can expect their business situation to be “significantly better” than in 2013, while 28% should be in a "better" situation. Only 2% of the firms are expected to see their business “significantly worse” than in 2013, the union said.

Also, 26% of the firms hired additional staff in the past 12 months while 14% reduced their staff, according to the IG BCE study.

“The data reflect a basic optimism in the industry, there is no reason for firms to complain,” said Peter Hausmann, an IG BCE executive and collective bargaining specialist.

Hausmann said that given the industry’s generally good position there was “a decent margin” for higher wages and salaries next year. IG BCE expects to decide next month on its formal wage demands and recommendations for the upcoming round.

In related news on Thursday, Munich-based Ifo economics institute said that its research showed a slight improvement in Germany's chemical industry business climate in September, compared with August.

Nevertheless, a number of German chemical firms, including LANXESS and Evonik, recently announced job cuts.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in his Chemicals and the Economy Blog

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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