Balancing Act: Insights on Union Demands and Flexibility in Collective Bargaining

According to an economist, the union’s request for an 11.6 percent increase is perceived as relatively modest. He anticipates a “strategic resolution” to emerge.

Holger Bonin, Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), recently addressed the need for greater flexibility in collective bargaining negotiations, taking inspiration from the German model. He suggests that social partners should consider incorporating both one-time payments and extended durations for collective labor agreements (KV contracts) to account for inflation over longer periods.

Bonin proposes a shift where one-time payments, traditionally viewed as supplements to actual pay raises, become part of the base for future negotiations. Additionally, he suggests the possibility of introducing opening clauses.

While these proposed changes could potentially reshape collective bargaining agreements, they are unlikely to be discussed seriously until next year or the following year due to the current economic volatility.

Bonin finds the concept proposed by employee representatives intriguing – opting for increased compensatory time off instead of higher wages. He advocates for a balanced and thoughtful resolution that addresses the concerns of both negotiating parties.

Addressing concerns about high wages for metalworkers potentially contributing to domestic inflation, Bonin argues that the industry’s strong focus on exports would mitigate this effect. However, he acknowledges that if other sectors were to follow suit and secure substantial wage increases, it might indeed impact inflation. Nonetheless, Bonin questions the classic role model function in this context.

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