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German unions, employers reach public sector pay agreement

April 23, 2023

German unions and employers in the public sector have reached a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement. It comes after public transport, childcare and hospital strikes paralyzed the country.

Protesters demonstrate during a nationwide strike called by the German trade union Verdi over a wage dispute
Strikes across Germany earlier this year brought a standstill to most of the countryImage: Fabian Bimmer/REUTERS

German public sector workers have agreed on a wage deal with employers, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said after a fourth round of talks concluded on Saturday in Potsdam, outside of Berlin.

The deal ends a wage dispute that has brought disruption to Europe's biggest economy.

Faeser called the agreement "good and fair."

Before the meeting, Faeser said she believed that a timely agreement was possible.

"The employees perform a good service in the general interest of all of us, and times are very difficult, so we must also pay them appropriately," she said.

Struggling municipalities, which were engaged in talks with the trade unions on behalf of the federal government, also had to be taken into account, she said. 

"The municipalities are not doing so well at the moment either, and we are talking about public tax money here," the minister said.

What is in the wage agreement?

The agreement for around 2.5 million workers in the sector follows arbitration. Employees will receive a €3,000 ($3,330) inflation payment and as of March 2024, incomes will rise by at least €340.

The agreement, which lasts for two years, largely followed the arbitration recommendation published a week ago.

In recent months, Germans trade unions had paralyzed public transport, day-care centers, hospitals and refuse collection with strikes across the country in the pay dispute.

"This compromise would not have been possible without the many warning strikes and protests over the last few months," said Ulrich Silberbach of the DBB public sector employee union.

sms/zc (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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