The lowest incomes in particular should receive a substantial wage increase next year. The FNV trade union will demand a gross wage increase of 100 euros per month and an inflation correction of about 2 percent in every collective labor agreement meeting next year.
For people on the minimum wage, that amounts to an almost 8 percent pay increase. For those with an average income, it is a plus of 5.5 percent. Those who earn three times the average would increase by 3.1 percent.
This leveling wage requirement is new for the FNV, which always comes out a day before Budget Day with its new collective labor agreement commitment from 1 December. In previous years that was one percentage for all workers – in recent years often with a floor for the lowest incomes.
“But due to skewed growth, we see that much more money ends up at the top of the wage structure and too little at minimum and modal incomes,” says FNV vice president Zakaria Boufangacha. “As FNV, we should not cooperate with that.”
If all employees get the same percentage wage increase, most euros go to the highest incomes. “That is why it is wiser now to bet on cents instead of percentages.”
Wages lag behind
The union has long believed that wages are lagging behind economic growth and that it is time to catch up. Since 2019, the FNV has demanded a wage increase of 5 percent in all collective labor agreements. At the start of the corona crisis, the union partially adjusted this requirement: employers who were confronted with uncertain prospects could count on leniency. But in the public sector and branches that were still doing well, such as supermarkets, the FNV stuck to the 5 percent requirement.
Also read this earlier interview with Zakaria Boufangacha, vice-chairman of the FNV trade union. “I also hear a lot of cry-cry stories from employers”
Also new is that the FNV wants to agree on an automatic wage increase in as many collective labor agreements as possible in order to repair the purchasing power of personnel. The employer then increases the wages with the inflation rate of October as of 1 January. In that case, the union will no longer have to negotiate about this in the next collective labor agreement round. Boufangacha: „At the collective labor agreement table we see more and more that we have to talk like Brugman in order to compensate the purchasing power at all. That seems the least to me. And then we can see how much extra needs to be added.”
A spokesperson for employers’ organization AWVN calls the price compensation “unwise”. “What should you do with such an automatic cost increase if you run into problems as a company?” The organization advocates sector-dependent agreements. The spokesperson doubts whether, for example, cleaning companies can simply implement an 8 percent pay increase. He calls the union’s demands “rather unrealistic”.
In addition to a wage increase, the FNV wants to make agreements in collective labor agreements about reducing flexible work. The union considers this even more important than the wage requirement. “We do not want economic growth to lead to an increase in the number of flex contracts in particular. Only one form of contract can be used for work that is structural: the contract for an indefinite period of time.”
The union also wants employees to have more say in matters such as rosters, working hours and workplace. The union also hopes to agree in collective labor agreements that more employees can retire early with the help of their boss.
Many collective labor agreements came to a standstill during the corona crisis. Particularly in the first months of the crisis, few employers dared to make agreements about wages and other employment conditions. Those consultations picked up again later, but ‘only’ 213 new collective labor agreements were concluded in 2020. That number is almost as high this year: 208 new collective agreements were made up to and including August.
On average, employers and unions have agreed on a wage increase of 1.9 percent this year. But the AWVN already saw “upward pressure on wages” this summer.
FNV comes with a leveling wage requirement: 100 euros per month for all employees
Source link FNV comes with a leveling wage requirement: 100 euros per month for all employees