21 May, 2012IG Metall reached an agreement for metalworkers in Baden-Württemberg on May 19, paving the way for a 4.3 per cent wage increase in its manufacturing sectors across the country. The agreement also improved codetermination rights on regulating agency labour and job security for apprentices.
GERMANY: With a 4.3 per cent pay rise for 800,000 workers effective from May 1, 2012, IG Metall finished their bargaining negotiations in the early hours of May 19 after marathon talks and powerful warning strikes of their membership. It´s the biggest pay rise in 20 years and more than double the inflation rate, representing a real increase of salary for the workers.
IG Metall also negotiated two other very important issues: regulation of agency work and a job guarantee for apprentices.
On agency work a real codetermination right for the Works Councils was agreed if the employer intends to hire agency workers. The Works Council now has the right to object to the use of agency labour and, if disputed, the employer has to go to court. The other option for employers is to negotiate an optional agreement on agency labour including regulating the number of agency workers engaged, limits on the time period and agreement on wages. The expectation is that most employers will choose the optional agreement giving Works Councils a real codetermination right to restrict agency work and to guarantee equal pay.
Another success in the new agreement is job guarantees for apprentices. According to the agreement, the employer must agree with the Works Council on the further need for staff and then must offer open-ended employment to the agreed number of apprentices. Alternatively, if such an agreement doesn´t exist, the employer must discuss with the Works Council the actual need for staff six month before the apprenticeships end and then offer the agreed number of apprentices open-ended employment and for the others offer a job for a minimum of one year. Three months before ending this time the employer must again negotiate with the Works Council on whether there is need for additional staff and therefore an opportunity to offer more apprentices open-ended employment.