Germany chemical employers reject union’s demand for 5.5% wage hike

28 November 2013 17:02  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Germany’s chemical employers on Thursday firmly rejected union IG BCE’s demand for a 5.5% wage hike in the upcoming 2014 chemical industry collective bargaining round.

The 2014 wage increase would not be anywhere near 5.5%, said Hans-Carsten Hansen, who is leading wage negotiations for Germany's chemical industry employers.

As far as wages and salaries are concerned, the industry needed to "put its foot on the cost brake", Hansen said in reacting to IG BCE’s formal resolution earlier on Thursday to demand a 5.5% wage hike under a 12-month collective deal.

Hansen said that there was no reason for "wage optimism" in Germany’s chemical industry.

"Chemical production is still below [2008/2009] pre-crisis levels, we had 10 quarters without growth dynamics, productivity is falling," Hansen said.

"The bottom line is that business is stagnating while costs are rising," he said. He pointed in particular to Germany’s high labour and energy costs.

"The 2014 collective bargaining round must do its part to help strengthen the [chemical industry’s] competitiveness," Hansen added.

"The gap between high wages and declining productivity must not widen further," he said.

Hansen also criticised the union’s call that firms should offer permanent employment to the apprentices they train after completion of the apprenticeships.

Such employment decisions needed to rest with company management, Hansen said.

He added that employers already offered work to more than 80% of apprentices. However, according to IG BCE, only about a third of chemical industry apprentices succeed in obtaining permanent employment contracts.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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