Unions enjoy higher bargaining power compared to previous years
The decentralized nature of the wage talks makes it hard to keep track. In
principle there are still parallel talks in seven different regions, covering the
whole of Germany, but it seems clear that both sides are trying to find a solution
in Baden-Württemberg (South-West), which could then be adopted by the other
We have argued that this wage round could turn out to be quite difficult given
the tight labour market in general and the excellent demand situation in the
metal industry in particular. This suggests relatively high settlements compared
to the sector’s old contract, which expired at the turn of the year (it had a
duration of 21 months with a 2.8% increase in the first period followed by
another 2% increase in April 2017). Altogether the annual increases amounted
to 2.14% for 2016 and 2.67% in 2017.
Collective wage increases in the overall
economy were 2.1% in 2017 (on a monthly basis).