New pay agreement for German steel industry

On 11 May 2005, the bargaining parties in the western German steel industry signed a new collective agreement on pay. Following lump sum payments for the months of April to August wages will go up by 3.5% with effect from 1 September 2005. A similar agreement was concluded about a week later for the eastern German steel industry.

On 11 May 2005, the German Metalworkers' Union (Industriegewerkschaft Metall, IG Metall) and the employers' association for the German steel industry (Arbeitgeberverband Stahl) signed a new collective agreement on pay. Over the first five months of the agreement employees receive lump sum payments of EUR 100. With effect from 1 September 2005 the bargaining parties agreed on a 3.5% pay rise. Apprentices receive one lump sum payment of EUR 100 but monthly remunerations for apprentices will not be increased due to an agreement concluded in 2003 on the increase of apprenticeships in the steel industry. The agreement, which covers about 100.000 steelworkers, has a duration of 17 months from 1 April 2005 until 31 August 2006. A similar agreement was concluded about a week later for the eastern German steel industry. Negotiations for the employees in the steel industry of the Saar-region have only just started as the current pay agreement there do not end until 30 June 2005.

The deal in the western German steel industry had been preceded by several warning strikes. The IG Metall had originally demanded an increase of 6.5% and had announced a decision to call a strike ballot for the 13 May. In a statement to the press Helmut Koch, president of the Arbeitgeberverband Stahl declared that the outcome of negotiations was not regarded as a reasonable compromise but that the employers had finally yielded in order to avoid a large scale strike. The president of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (Bundesvereingigung der deutschen Arbeitgeberverbände, BDA), Dieter Hundt, criticised the agreement and said that the pay increase could not serve as a model for other industries.

Jürgen Peters, the chair of the IG Metall, commented that the outcome marked the end of years of pay restraints. Detlef Wetzel, the chair of the IG Metall in NorthRhine-Westphalia, praised the agreement stressing that the pay increase was above the actual inflation rate and that employees would now receive a share of the profits generated during the current good economic situation of the steel industry.

This information is made available through the European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO), as a service to users of the EIROnline database. EIRO is a project of the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. However, this information has been neither edited nor approved by the Foundation, which means that it is not responsible for its content and accuracy. This is the responsibility of the EIRO national centre that originated/provided the information. For details see the "About this record" information in this record.

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