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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Annual press conference: DGB sees “medium-term” locational advantages in Germany

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The German trade union federation hopes that entrepreneurs will remain loyal to the location in return for state subsidies. But the state still has a lot to do.

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State commitment to a climate-friendly transformation of the economy and more social security – these are the core demands of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) as it looks to the new year.

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Companies should be obliged to develop and expand new added value and climate-friendly products, said DGB boss Yasmin Fahimi at the DGB annual press conference in Berlin. In return, the economy should be supported by the state. The following must apply: “Without loyalty to the location, there are no location advantages.” The companies should not relocate production abroad, warned Fahimi.

Instead, she emphasized “the medium-term opportunities that lie in this location.” When looking at the USA and the Inflation Reduction Act introduced there, one should also see that there is also support and funding programs in Germany. US President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act in August. The law provides for billions in investments in climate protection and social affairs.

“Now it’s about the future and transformation”

It’s about the “I see a great opportunity in the fact that there is a joint handshake between politicians, companies, capital and us,” said Fahimi. In Germany, one should “invest in the locations and in new value chains, which in the end can not only ensure certain price stability in the long term, but also the ability to innovate, which in our view is not so easily possible in other countries,” said Fahimi .

She called for more responsibility from companies: “We must also demand that companies take responsibility and not just represent quasi-vagrant capital in every crisis,” said Fahimi.

A deep recession caused by the energy price crisis and inflation has been averted, Fahimi said. There was also no gas shortage. “Now it’s about the future and transformation.”

“Social cohesion is currently on the brink”

At the same time, the DGB called for more efforts to achieve more social balance in Germany in the new year. “This year must be the year of distributive justice,” said board member Stefan Körzell. Social cohesion is currently on the brink. Among other things, Körzell called for a one-time wealth tax for those with large fortunes. In view of the housing shortage in many German cities, Körzell said: “Politicians must now change course and use construction capacities.”

One day before the start of collective bargaining for the public sector at federal and local level, DGB Vice President Elke Hannack called for more staff for the authorities and state services. Long-term personnel planning is necessary. Since many will retire in the coming years, good working conditions must be ensured in order to be attractive to new staff, says Hannack. Collective bargaining between Verdi and the civil servants’ association dbb with federal and local employers will begin in Potsdam on Tuesday. The unions are demanding 10.5 percent more income, but at least 500 euros more per month. The Association of Municipal Employers’ Associations (VKA) had rejected the demands as “unaffordable”.

Source: Stern

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