After the wage restraint of the last few years, employees now had to share in the results of the economy, she demanded in "bild am sonntag".
The deputy chairman of the union faction in the bundestag, michael fuchs (CDU), criticized the advance. "Politics should basically stay out of wage negotiations", he told the newspaper "sonntag aktuell". His FDP colleague heinrich kolb made a similar statement. While the president of the employers’ association for the metal industry, martin kannegiesser, refused to be "lectured" by von der leyen, detlef wetzel, head of the union for metal, engineering and electronics, buried the push, but at the same time appealed to the minister to make her own efforts to improve the situation.
Von der leyen spoke out in favor of tractable wage increases above the rate of inflation. "Over the last few years, we in germany have worked hard together and exercised wage restraint so that we can come out of the crisis in good shape," she said. Now the german economy is making decent profits. "Now the employees have to share in this, and they also have to track the plus."Last year, the inflation rate was 2.3 percent.
"No one has to lecture us on what we owe our employees," all-metal president kannegiesser told the "berliner zeitung" (monday). More than half of the inflation rate consists of energy price increases. "We have no influence on this," he stressed.
Fuchs argued that it was not certain that the economy would continue to develop in this way. "I don’t think it’s wise to dictate to employers and unions, they know much better what’s feasible and what’s not," he said.
FDP parliamentary group vice-chairman kolb also warned against interference in collective bargaining autonomy. "The collective bargaining partners don’t need external instructions on rules," he told "sonntag aktuell".
Grunen faction leader renate kunast agreed with von der leyen on this point. "After a long period of restraint and current export records, higher wage agreements are a question of fairness."The collective bargaining round is about a success dividend for the employees. Kunast, however, demanded that the minister make progress on the issue of a minimum wage: "the acid test of her words will be action – the minimum wage," she told the newspaper.
"I can only bury mrs. Von der leyen’s sense of justice," declared IG-metall vice wetzel in response to a dpa inquiry. However, she herself could immediately create the conditions to curb low wages. "In order to apply the principle of "equal work, equal pay" to temporary work," he said we need an equal pay law, a ban on synchronization and an employee redundancy law. That is the task of politics, and we will judge the labor minister on these necessary actions," said wetzel.
Last week, the unions had demanded a 6.5 percent wage increase for employees in the metal and electrical industries. 6.5 percent is also the wage demand in the public service sector.
The chairman of the german federation of trade unions (DGB), michael sommer, defended the demands. The figure of 6.5 is rational and well-founded, he told the "bild" newspaper (monday). "People are fed up with the fact that good work is not paid decently everywhere."Sommer announced tough negotiations and, if necessary, strikes: "wage disputes are not for the boys’ choir, struggle is normal. And even if there is a strike, the sun will continue to shine, the end of the world will not take place."
According to a survey, a majority of 59 percent of germans believe that the metalworkers’ demand for a 6.5 percent wage increase is justified. However, as the emnid institute found out for "bild am sonntag," this is not the case for the public service. 51 percent of those surveyed were against the idea. Only 45 percent thought an increase of this size was appropriate.
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