German builders have threatened to declare a nationwide strike demanding higher wages and other payments. According to Reuters, the issue of wage increases has escalated amid record price increases in Germany.
In Berlin, hundreds of workers took to street demonstrations demanding an increase in their share of the profits from the construction boom in Germany. “A nationwide strike by construction workers is more likely than at any time in the last 20 years,” warned Robert Feiger, head of the IG Bau trade union. The organization calls for raising the salaries of almost 900 thousand builders by 5.3 percent.
The trade union also insists on higher compensation for the cost of travel to construction sites, which are often located at a considerable distance from the place of residence of workers. In addition, the protesters draw attention to the fact that 30 years after the unification in Germany, there is still a difference in wages in the two parts of the country.
The Federal Social Court of Germany (one of the highest courts in the country) begins consideration of the salary dispute on October 6. If it cannot be resolved, the country may face the first nationwide strike in the construction sector since 2002. “Believe me, we know how to strike,” union leader Feiger said.
Wages in Germany increased by 5.5 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2021, and consumer prices increased by 2.4 percent over the same period. This means that real wages have increased by about three percent. Economists, however, expect that in the second half of 2021, inflation will exceed wage growth, which will negatively affect purchasing power. However, experts fear that the salary increase will lead to a further increase in inflation.
On October 1, it was reported that Germany faced the highest inflation rate in almost 30 years – it reached 4.1 percent. The main reasons for the rapid rise in prices are the energy crisis and supply disruptions due to the coronavirus.