Dhe consequences of the corona pandemic, Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine and a tightened climate protection policy are a heavy burden for the economy and society. Each of the three factors will dampen the development of prosperity in the foreseeable future. So far, however, there has also been one of Germany’s strengths: the culture of political and social partnership-based balancing of interests. There is an understanding in large parts of the population that – despite all the differences in individual possibilities – everyone is required to make a contribution in dealing with the challenges.
But in the public sector of all things, with the Verdi and EVG unions, that doesn’t seem to exist. There is a lack of willingness to concentrate on the essentials in their collective bargaining rounds and to put other goals on hold for the time being. Because what would be the main thing now?
Union power grows
Acute burdens on employees due to inflation could be absorbed with special payments of up to 3,000 euros, which are tax- and duty-free, supplemented by a moderate permanent wage increase. The wage settlements of the industrial unions – 6 to 8 percent over two years – set a plausible, not immodest framework for this.
The major strike that has now been announced, which will paralyze the entire transport sector for one working day, is basically just further clear evidence that Verdi and EVG and their members are using the current crises as a lever for a fundamental redistribution of wealth and resources in their favor want. Her excessive wage demands had already shown that. They recognize that the politics of crisis management – whether restructuring the energy supply or expanding public transport – strengthens their position of power in society, and they are now exploiting this.
However, the planned major strike will also be an exciting test of how far the sympathies of the population go. So far, what is also known from climate protection policy has applied: As long as there is the impression that employees in the public sector can wish for more pay and influence without having to limit themselves, acceptance is easy. But that could change from Monday.