Interim report on 2013 bargaining round

The Institute of Economic and Social Research has published an interim report on Germany’s 2013 round of collective bargaining. The study evaluates collective agreements concluded in the first half of 2013, affecting about 45% of all workers covered by such agreements – around 8.7 million employees, 1.2 million of them in eastern Germany. The average annual increase in collectively agreed wages and salaries will be 2.8% in 2013, slightly above the average of 2.7% in 2012.


In July 2013, the Institute for Economic and Social Research (WSI) in Germany published its interim report (1.34 MB PDF, in German) on the 2013 collective bargaining round. The study was put together using data from the Collective Agreement Archive (Tarifarchiv) of the Hans Böckler Foundation (HBS)

The report evaluates all collective agreements concluded by trade unions affiliated to the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB) in the first half of 2013. These new collective agreements cover 8.7 million employees, of which 1.2 million are in eastern Germany. This figure accounts for about 45% of all employees covered by collective agreements. In 2013, a further 4.5 million employees are to receive pay increases agreed in previous years.

Increases slightly above average

The data show that the average annual increase in wages based on collective agreements for 2013 will be around 2.8%. This is slightly above the average increase of 2.7% in 2012 (DE1302019I). The average annual increase in eastern German pay levels is estimated to be about 3.2%, bringing this year’s increases well above the western German level as shown in Table 1. Average collectively agreed pay in eastern Germany will amount to around 97% of average western German pay levels in 2013, which is the same level as reached at the end of 2012.

According to input from the economic sector, average wage increases in the first half of 2013 range between 2.3% in banking and insurance, and 3.6% in energy, water and mining. By far the highest pay increases were agreed for private security staff at airports in North-Rhine Westphalia. They will see their pay rise by more than 18% in two stages in 2013 and 2014.

The average duration of the pay agreements concluded in the first half of 2013 is 20.7 months, which is about three and a half months longer than in 2012.

Table 1: Average increases in collectively agreed pay in 2013 (%)


Western Germany

Eastern Germany


Horticulture, agriculture, forestry




Energy, water, mining




Raw materials and production industries




Investment goods industry




Consumption goods industry




Food industry




Construction industry








Transport and communication




Banking, insurance




Private services, non-profit associations




Public services, social security




All sectors




Note: Annual pay increases are for 2013 compared to 2012. Figures are calculated on the basis of all pay increases coming into effect in 2013, collectively agreed either in the first half of 2013 or in previous years.

Source: WSI Collective Agreement Archive 2013 (as at 30 June 2013)

Public sector unions reach agreement

On 9 March 2013, following several waves of warning strikes, the Employers’ Association of German States (TdL) and the United Services Union (ver.di) concluded a new collective agreement for all federal states. The deal will cover up to 822,700 public sector employees in all federal states except the state of Hesse.

Employees will receive a general pay increase of 2.65% from 1 January 2013 and a further general pay increase of 2.95% from 1 January 2014. It is valid for 24 months until 31 December 2014.

All employees will be entitled to annual paid leave of 30 working days from 2013 onwards.

Separate negotiations were held between the regional government and ver.di for the 50,000 or so public employees working for the state of Hesse. These employees will receive a one-off payment of €450 for the period from January to June 2013. This will be followed by a general pay increase of 2.8% from 1 July 2013 and further increase of 2.8% from 1 April 2014. In April 2014 there will be an additional one-off payment of €225. The duration is until 31 December 2014.

Pilot agreement follows strikes

On 15 May 2013, the employers’ association of the Bavarian Metal and Electrical Industry (VBM) and the German Metalworkers’ Union (IG Metall) concluded a pilot agreement which was then adopted by the other bargaining regions in the metalworking industry in Germany (DE1306039I). The bargaining round was accompanied by several major waves of warning strikes involving hundreds of thousands of metal workers in the various bargaining regions of Germany.

The new agreement, valid until the end of December 2014, stipulates that employees’ wages will rise by 3.4% on 1 July 2013 and by a further 2.2% on 1 May 2014. The pay increase follows two ‘zero-months’ in May and June 2013. These wage rises were adopted by all other collective bargaining regions.

Big increase for security workers

A spectacular bargaining round took place in the private security industry in North-Rhine-Westphalia. In response to claims by employees, and with the aim of tackling low pay in the industry, ver.di decided to enter negotiations with a demand for a flat-rate increase of €2.50 for security staff, rather than for a general pay increase expressed in percentage terms.

Under the demand, hourly pay for security staff at airports would rise even more steeply from €12.36 to €16, and would give certain wage and occupational groups increases of up to 30%.

This was rejected by the employers’ association for the security industry (BDSW) but it offered immediate increases of 4.9% for security staff and 9% for aviation security staff. The union ver.di called for industrial action, and the industry was hit by several days of strikes, particularly at the international airports of Cologne and Düsseldorf.

The parties finally agreed to enter into a joint dispute resolution procedure under the control of the conciliator of the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, and settlement was reached on 9 April 2014.

Following four so-called zero-months with no increase, employees will receive two general pay increases coming into effect in May 2013 and January 2014. These increases vary between the wage scales and occupational groups. Pay in the lowest wage scale will rise by 5.8% and 4.4%. Pay for security staff at airports will rise by 8.3% and 8.2% for those concerned with freight and 10% and 8.1% for those involved in passenger control. The agreement is valid for 24 months.

Table 2: Selected pay agreements concluded up to June 2013


Bargaining area


31 January


One-off payment of €230 for November 2102 to February 2013. General pay increase of 3.7% from March 2013 and 2.8% from July 2014. Valid until 30 June 2015

25 February

Wood and plasticWestphalia Lippe

Two ‘zero months’ followed by 3% increase from March 2013. Valid until 30 April 2014.

1 March

Coal mining

One-off payment of €630 for January to March 2013, 3.5% from 1 April 2013. Valid until 31 December 2014.

6 March

Steel industryNorth-Rhine Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Bremen

3% from 1 March 2013. Valid until 31 May 2014.

9 March

Public sectorFederal states (Länder) level; except Hesse

2.65% from 1 January 2013; 2.95% from 1 January 2014. Valid until 31 December 2014.

25 March

Deutsche Bahn (German Rail)

One-off payment of €500 for January to April 2013; 3% from 1 May 2013; 3% from 1 April 2014. Valid until 31 July 2014.

5 April

Construction industry

One ‘zero month’; 3.2% in west Germany and Berlin and 4% in east Germany from 1 May 2013. Valid until 30 April 2014.

7 April

Private securityNorth-Rhine Westphalia

Four ‘zero months. Lowest wage scale 5.8% from 1 May 2013 and 4.4% from 1 January 2014. Security staff in aviation 10% and 8.1% respectively. Valid until 31 December 2014

8 April

Hotel and restaurantsBavaria

One-off payment of €45 for March 2013; 4% from 1 April 2013. Valid until 31 July 2014

19 April

Textile industryEast Germany

One-off payment of €65 for April 2013; 3% from 1 May 2013; 2.6% from 1 July 2014. Valid until 31 March 2015.

26 April

Deutsche Post (German Mail)

Four ‘zero months’; 3.1% from 1 August 2013; 2.6% from 1 October 2014. Valid until 31 May 2015.

14 May

Metalworking industry

Two ‘zero months’; 3.4% from 1 July 2013; 2.2 from 1 May 2015. Valid until 31 December 2014.

7 June

Insurance industry

Four ‘zero months’; 3.2% from 1 June 2013; 2.2% from 1 October 2014. Valid until 31 March 2015.

14 June

Wholesale tradeBaden-Wuerttemberg

Two ‘zero months’; 3% from 1 June 2013; 2.1% from 1 October 2014, one-off payment of €90. Valid until 31 March 2015.

Source: WSI Collective Agreement Archive, July 2013

Gender pay gap

Despite the considerable gap in earnings between men and women which continue to exist in Germany (DE0806019I), special provisions to tackle wage discrimination and to promote equal opportunities were not included in those collective agreements concluded in the first half of 2013.


Since the average increase in collectively agreed pay will be 2.8% in 2013 and consumer prices are expected to rise by only 1.6%, there will be, on average, a noticeable increase in real wages in 2013.

Heiner Dribbusch, Institute of Economic and Social Research, WSI

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