German public sector workers and their unions won a significant victory this week after negotiating a pay rise agreement with the government, set to cover over 2 million public sector employees.
The agreement was reached after months of heated negotiations between the government and key unions, including PSI affiliate ver.di. The agreement will see most wages for workers covered increase by 5.5 percent (or at least €340 per month) from March 2024 onwards.
Although the government continues to stall on many key improvements needed for frontline services and conditions, the agreement is a testament to how unions can make major gains for members. Ver.di and other unions organised the biggest walk-out in over three decades, highlting the urgent need for greater pay increases to keep up with steep price hikes which have exacerbated the cost of living crisis.
Frank Werneke General Secretary, ver.di
With our decision to enter into this compromise, we have gone to the limits of our tolerance
This pay rise is particularly significant for public sector workers who have been working tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The pay increase recognizes the important contribution they made to ensure essential services continued to function during the pandemic.
Ver.di, which pushed for a 10.5% salary increase, said the compromise was difficult but necessary given the current context. The union will now conduct a survey of members to help determine further action in the coming months.
It is hoped that this agreement will set an initial benchmark for future negotiations to ensure that public sector workers are fairly compensated for their vital work.