End of the 1997 bargaining round in the west German retail trade

In November and December 1997, the collective bargaining parties in western Germany's retail trade agreed a 1.5% pay increase and secured 100% continued payment of remuneration in the event of illness.

After more than eight months of negotiations, new collective agreements were concluded in November and December 1997 for the 1.8 million or so employees in the west German retail trade, ending the 1997 collective bargaining round. New agreements were concluded in most regional bargaining areas between the trade union responsible, Gewerkschaft Handel Banken Versicherungen (HBV), and the regional employers' associations - which are members of the national peak employers' association for the retail trade, Hauptverband des Deutschen Einzelhandels (HDE).

Taking the results of the largest bargaining area, Northrhine-Westphalia, the agreements contain:

  • a flat-rate payment of DEM 120 for April to October 1997;
  • a 1.5% increase in wages and salaries from 1 November 1997;
  • an increase of DEM 10 per month in vocational training pay, from the second year of training;
  • the securing of 100% continued payment of remuneration in the case of illness (DE9709131F); and
  • as compensation for the 100% continued payment of remuneration in the case of illness, a reduction of holiday bonuses from 55% to 50% of one month's pay from 1 January 2000.

The collective agreements in other regional bargaining areas contain mainly the same provisions, with small variations in the amount of the flat-rate payment.

Since nearly 80% of all companies in the retail trade sector have five employees or fewer, only about 50% of the companies are directly covered by a collective agreement. However, usually on application of both parties to the collective agreement, the Ministry of Labour declares most collective agreements in retail trade to be generally binding (allgemeinverbindlich) for the whole sector.

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