The most recent round of negotiations between the union and the Chamber of Commerce regarding this year’s wage and salary increases for approximately 200,000 employees ended without any resolution after seven hours. 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.
The employers expressed their frustration with the negotiations, stating that they were willing to provide increases if an improvement in the framework was achieved. However, they also criticized the unions for their uncompromising approach, indicating that they had maneuvered themselves into a dead end.
Reinhold Binder, the chief negotiator for PRO-GE, mentioned that if a resolution wasn’t achieved that day, the unions would expand their combat measures. The 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 that they 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 their strikes. For example, large companies may consider extending strikes to multiple shifts while others may extend strikes to two consecutive days.
In summary, despite efforts from both sides to reach an agreement on wage and salary increases for approximately 200,000 employees, negotiations have been fruitless after seven hours of discussion ending in stalemate for what is now considered one of the longest negotiations in recent history by PRO-GE union and Chamber of Commerce officials.