2.50 euros more hourly wages in retail – that is Verdi’s demand. Because the tariff dispute is deadlocked, there could be waiting times at the checkouts in the near future.
Consumers are likely to miss some products on supermarket shelves these days or wait longer at the checkouts. The Verdi union has once again called on tens of thousands of employees to go on nationwide warning strikes in retail and wholesale trade.
“After more than half a year of collective bargaining in 13 collective bargaining areas, there is neither a collective agreement nor an improved offer from the employers,” the union said. “Last week’s negotiations in several federal states didn’t change that.”
For months, Verdi and employers in the 16 federal states have been fighting for higher wages and salaries for millions of employees. Collective bargaining is conducted separately for retail and wholesale trade. Verdi is demanding, among other things, at least 2.50 euros more per hour in retail in all regions and a term of twelve months. Depending on the federal state, there are additional requirements.
In wholesale, the union wants wages to be 13 percent higher or 425 euros more, depending on the collective bargaining area.
Attempt at mediation failed
Employers point to the continued tense situation for retailers. In view of the deadlocked conflict, the German Trade Association (HDE) intervened a few weeks ago and recommended that companies increase wages before an official collective agreement is reached. According to a decision by the HDE collective bargaining committee, companies bound by collective agreements have had the opportunity since October 1st to “pay out voluntary, creditable advance increases of 5.3 percent,” it said. The Rewe Group and some other trading companies, among others, followed this recommendation.
Verdi rejected the HDE’s proposed wage increase as too low. “That’s 92 cents an hour for a saleswoman, and that means a loss of real wages. The employees already receive very low wages, and the inflation of the last few months is eating up wages,” said union leader Frank Werneke in mid-September.