New agreement signed in printing industry

In May 1999, the collective bargaining parties in the German printing industry signed a new collective agreement which provides for a 3.3% wage increase.

On 6 May 1999 the Bundesverband Druck employers' association and the Media and Printing Union (IG Medien) signed a new nationwide collective agreement for blue-collar workers in the German printing industry. The new agreement provides for a 3.3% increase in wages and vocational training payments from April 1999, and has a duration of 12 months. Employees in lower wage groups will receive a flat-rate payment of DEM 135 for the month of April 1999, which is somewhat higher than the proportional wage increase of 3.3%.

Both parties expect that the same provisions will be repeated in the collective agreements for white-collar workers in printing, which are currently negotiated at regional level. Therefore, it can be taken as read that the agreed pay increase will apply to all 200,000 employees in the German printing industry.

After several years of rather low wage growth, IG Medien originally demanded a 6.5% wage increase. On the other hand, the printing employers started with a declaration that wage increase should be clearly below the recently concluded increase in the metalworking sector (DE9903295F). According to IG Medien, however, the final outcome in the printing agreement is almost equivalent to what was agreed in metalworking.

The 1999 bargaining round in printing, which started in March 1999, was accompanied by relatively extensive warning strikes. According to trade union figures, about 17,500 employees in 168 establishments participated in some form of industrial action. After the breakthrough in printing, IG Medien was able to conclude a further collective agreement for about 100,000 employees in paper processing, which also provides for a 3.3% wage increase.

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