German government and unions agree pay deal for public sector workers

Ver.di chairman Frank Werneke

German government officials and trade unions have reached a pay deal for more than 2.5 million public sector workers, ending a lengthy dispute and heading off the possibility of disruptive all-out strikes.

The ver.di union had pressed for a hefty increase as Germany, like many other countries, grapples with high inflation.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said as the deal was announced early on Sunday: “We accommodated the unions as far as we could responsibly do in a difficult budget situation.”

The deal entails one-off payments totalling 3,000 euros (£2,650) per employee, with the first 1,240 euros (£1,095) in June followed by monthly payments of 220 euros (around £195) until February next year.

In March, regular monthly pay for all will be increased by 200 euros (£177), followed by a salary increase of 5.5%. The agreement runs through to the end of 2024.

Ver.di had originally sought a one-year deal with an increase of 10.5%. The agreement was reached on the basis of a proposal by arbitrators who were called in after talks broke down last month.

The union’s chairman, Frank Werneke, said: “We went to our pain threshold with the decision to make this compromise.”

He added that the increase in regular pay next year will amount to a rise of more than 11% for most employees.

Germany’s annual inflation rate has fallen from the levels it reached late last year but is still high. It stood at 7.4% in March.

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