Jump to main content
IndustriALL logotype

Germany: Chemical workers reach new agreement after tough negotiations

2 April, 2015IndustriALL Global Union’s German affiliate IG BCE and the Chemical Employers’ Federation finally concluded a sector-wide chemical industry collective bargaining agreement after a long fourth final session in Stuttgart on 26-27 March.

Covering 550,000 employees in 1900 companies throughout the sector, the new agreement brings a 2.8 per cent increase to the wages for a 17-month period and an almost doubling of employer contributions to the sector’s ‘Demographic Fund’ over 24 months.

This is a specific fund in the German chemical industry that facilitates early retirements, part time work, long term working time accounts and other measures in order to tackle the demographic change in this industry. The employers will now pay € 750, up from € 338, per year per employee into this fund, which represents an additional 0.9% pay rise.

The agreement covers major multinational companies such as BASF, Evonik, Bayer, Dow Chemical and LyondellBasell in Germany which is Europe's largest chemical producing country.

Given the divergent starting points, the sector-wide negotiations had difficult times and required four separate meetings before the social partners finally reached an acceptable conclusion. Some 100,000 people took to the streets earlier in March to demonstrate their commitment for a wage increase and improved working conditions.

Michael Vassiliadis, President of IG BCE said:

We have shown in the chemical industry, once again, that a strong union achieves sustainable outcomes for workers. We have not only taken care of significant income growth, in a difficult overall environment, but also updated and strengthened the demographics allowances in this collective agreement. This is important for the people and the industry; this is a real investment in the future.

IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan says:

Concluding this agreement has been a drawn-out process where people took to the streets in force to show support for the IG BCE. IndustriALL congratulates the new collective bargaining agreement which is the result of solid industrial relations.

Germany's inflation rate was 0.9 percent in 2014. Earlier this year IG BCE concluded a collective bargaining agreement for 13,000 hard coal miners at the level of 3,6 per cent and a € 600 one-time lump sum while the union recently achieved a 5 per cent wage increase covering 50,000 employees in 150 paper companies for a 12-month period.