After seven hours of negotiations, the seventh and most recent round of talks between the union and the Chamber of Commerce regarding this year’s wage and salary increases for approximately 200,000 employees ended without a resolution. This marks the longest negotiations in the past 25 years. The two parties are at odds with unions demanding an 11.6 percent increase to compensate for the 9.6 percent inflation, while employers have refused to agree to this demand.
Employers expressed their frustration during the negotiations, stating that they were willing to provide increases if an improvement in the framework was achieved. However, they criticized unions for their uncompromising approach, indicating that they had maneuvered themselves into a dead end.
The chief negotiator for PRO-GE, Reinhold Binder, mentioned that if a resolution wasn’t achieved that day, unions would expand their combat measures. High inflation has put a strain on employees who are demanding fair wage and salary increases that preserve their purchasing power. On the other hand, employers argue that the industry has slipped into a recession and cannot fully compensate for inflation.
Specifically, unions are planning to escalate their measures by leaving it up to individual companies to decide how they can extend strikes. For example, large companies may consider extending strikes to multiple shifts while others may extend strikes to two consecutive days.
The union argued that its members should receive a salary increase of at least 11% this year due to high inflation rates which have eroded purchasing power.
However, employers countered by saying that such an increase would put undue pressure on them during these tough economic times.
Employers also expressed concerns over how such an increase could impact business operations.
Despite numerous attempts at negotiation both sides remain far apart with no sign of compromise in sight.