First Chemical Industry Wage Rounds Inconclusive

16.01.2014 -

The first national round of collective bargaining on a new 12-month contract for the 550,000 employees of the German chemical industry ended inconclusively in Darmstadt on Jan. 15 as the union IG BCE and the employers association BAVC remained far from a consensus on wages and working conditions. Talks will resume on February 4 and 5 in Hanover.

Peter Hausmann, chief negotiator for IG BCE, accused the employer side of being "recalcitrant, inflexible and completely out of line," while Hans-Carsten Hansen, who is leading the talks for BAVC, said the union needed to accept the industry's "economic realities."

IG BCE is asking for a wage increase of 5.5% and a rise in monthly pay for industry apprentices of €60. Hansen termed the union's demands "excessive," as German chemical production has not returned to the level of 2007, the year before the economic crisis of 2008-2009 and since 2011 has been losing in international competitiveness. In contrast, the union said its own data and that published by economic institutes show that the chemicals economy is "stable and robust."