Employer boss Stefan Wolf repeats his suggestion that Germans should work more and longer. The associations and social unions resisted pressure from the president of Gesamtmetall for a pension of 70 and longer working hours per week. It’s spicy that Wolf is going on the offensive just before a round of metal wage negotiations – the negotiations will be fierce anyway due to high inflation.
Wolf justifies his request with the fact that the population is aging and lives longer. “If you look at demographic development and the burden on social and pension funds, the reserves are exhausted,” he said. “We will have to work longer and more,” said the chairman of the metal and electrical employers’ union. As citizens are living longer and longer, the retirement age is to be gradually raised to 70, otherwise the system would no longer be financially viable in the medium term.
“Firms should rather improve working conditions.”
IG Metall board member Hans-Jürgen Urban reacts sarcastically. “The fact that employers’ representatives are demanding retirement at the age of 70 is nothing new. It would be new if they improved working conditions in such a way that more workers would reach normal retirement age in good health, “he said. Suddeutsche Zeitung. There is much to be done in terms of improving working conditions.
The social association VdK Germany expresses itself more clearly. “Even today, only a minority of 65-year-olds work full-time,” says VdK CEO Verena Bentele. The higher retirement age applies mainly to people who currently work in physically or mentally demanding positions. “For this group, a retirement pension at the age of 70 means a pure pension reduction.” Instead of considering the retirement age, the statutory pension insurance should be strengthened. “In the future, everyone will pay there – except for workers, officials, self-employed workers and politicians.”
Due to demographic changes, the government will raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 by the end of the decade anyway. All well-established parties reject the extension to 70 years. “We agreed in the coalition not to raise the statutory retirement age. And that will not change, said Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) recently.
Work longer and retire later – Wolf wants both
As politicians almost all over the world reject a higher retirement age, the employer-related Institute for German Economy (IW) recently proposed a longer working week of 42 hours as an alternative. “If you add it up, you’ll compensate demographically for your job loss by 2030.” – says the head of the IW Michael Hüther.
Total metal boss Wolf now demands both: the retirement age of 70 and longer working week. According to the Federal Statistical Office, 4.5 million employees worked overtime in 2021 – one in five was unpaid. From this month on, a new EU directive obliges companies to inform their employees whether they can order overtime at all and how they can compensate for it.
The combination of longer work and later retirement is explosive, especially as a message to IG Metall’s negotiating partner. The union not only rejects later retirement. She also won a 35-hour working week in tough disputes in West Germany (and gradually in the East). In the collective agreement of 2021, it also pushed through the reduction of working hours to a four-day week as an option for companies.
IG Metall demands eight percent higher wages for four million employees
IG Metall board member Urban reacts accordingly negatively: “Anyone who wants to tighten a screw during working hours should first look at the working conditions in workshops and offices. Working longer is a health burden for employees who are already working. suffering from stress and high work density. We need more qualified workers and therefore more attractive jobs with collective agreements.
Swapping punches sheds light on the wage round in Germany’s largest industrial sector, which includes car companies and mechanical engineers. IG Metall demands eight percent higher wages for four million employees – the highest demand in 15 years. Due to the strongest inflation in decades, workers expect a balance.
Employers say the union should hold back due to economic uncertainty. Bavarian metal and electricity employers bayme vbm expect production to fall by at least two percent – not counting a possible gas cutoff. 30 percent of companies worry about a profit critical situation. IG Metall, on the other hand, says most companies are still making good returns.