After failure of fourth negotiation round with the employers´ association in the machinery and metal ware sector (FMMI) negotiating unions PRO-GE and GPA-Djp decide on industrial action, including strike measures After the start of the wage bargaining …

Walton Pantland

After failure of fourth negotiation round with the employers´ association in the machinery and metal ware sector (FMMI) negotiating unions PRO-GE and GPA-Djp decide on industrial action, including strike measures

After the start of the wage bargaining round, affecting more than 120.000 workers in the machinery and metalware sector on 24. September and negotiating rounds on 1 October and 15 October which were broken off without result, talks between the negotiating sectoral unions PRO-GE (for the blue collar workers) and GPA-Djp (for the white-collar workers) and the employers´ association of the machinery and metalware sector (FMMI) on the other hand were resumed on 22 October.

Already at the beginning of the fourth negotiating round, the employers declared their intention to reach an agreement with our negotiating team. Though they withdrew their demands that smoking breaks should not be credited to paid working time and for more age-related working time schemes which would have meant income losses for older workers/employees by moving away from the principle of seniority compensation; However, they still insisted on their demands for wage increases setting off only the average inflation rate of 2,3 percent (without increases in additional payments/allowances) and extended flexibilisation of working time.

In exchange for wage increases they demand the introduction of working-time accounts which allow to accumulate time credits up to 167,4 flexibly distributable hours of normal working time without any bonus/additional pay for these extra hours (compensation1:1). These time accounts should be introduced by works agreements (between individual employer and works council at company level) or by works contract with the individual worker without a collective agreement, limiting the reference period for balancing off working time. Thus daily normal working hours could be extended up to 9 hours and weekly normal working hours up to 45 hours (in case of shift work up to 48 hours).

Our unions´ negotiating team has clearly rejected the demands from the employers, as they would result in massive income losses for the workers by unpaid overtime. Furthermore, without setting a maximum reference period for balancing off working time by a collective agreement, the workers would work extra hours for the employers for free which will only be compensated off with delay and without extra hours/overtime bonus.  In our view this proposal is not aiming at securing employment, but rather at increasing profits for the employers by reducing wage costs at the expense of the workers.

Due to the situation, on 23, 24 and 25 October our unions will organize works meetings in businesses of the machinery and metalware sector to inform the workers about the state of play in the current negotiating round and to decide on possible industrial action. If no result can be achieved till 29 October, our unions will resort to strike measures.


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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