Fight against inflation: IG Metall wants a clear plus in 2022

More protection against escalating energy prices and ensuring appropriate wage increases despite high inflation are crucial points for IG Metall in the 2022 tariff year. The regional boss in Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, Thorsten Gröger, warned in a dpa interview that electricity and fuel costs would continue to rise could overload some consumers and companies.

In the wage rounds, after the reluctance of the first two Corona years, a clear plus should come out, demanded Gröger. “It would be too early to say at the moment that there are no other necessities. However, the sharp price increases will be a key issue.” The debate about the specific amount is only just beginning in the committees. However, it is clear: “In view of the current inflation, securing real incomes must be a central goal.”

Politically, it is important to keep an eye on the electricity market. The new federal government is already using “a few adjusting screws”, said Gröger – for example the abolition of the EEG surcharge, through which customers help finance the expansion of green electricity, at the turn of the year 2022/2023.

VW collective agreement ends

“In the transformation of the entire industry, the price of electricity is an increasingly important factor, also with a view to the higher demand for electricity and renewables,” explained Gröger. “Overall, we have to be careful that the energy issue does not become a social issue. For example, we have to ensure that not only certain people can still afford certain forms of mobility in the future,” he said, referring to more expensive fuel for combustion engines at the same time relative high costs for charging e-cars.

It is now a matter of “continuing to achieve a good balance between the material equipment of the contracts and secure employment,” said the head of the important IG Metall district. The collective wage agreements in the metal and electronics industry expire at the end of September, and the current in-house wage agreement with Volkswagen and the VW subsidiaries ends two months later. Before that, things will continue in the steel industry from the end of May. The IG Metall district of North Rhine-Westphalia is in charge of the negotiations there.

Corona has significantly exacerbated the changeover pain in many places. “But that the products of our industry and the way in which they are manufactured are only sustainable if climate neutrality is strived for in the medium term and digitization is used wisely – that will remain the big issue even after the pandemic.”

Double structural change

A number of companies met this double structural change with great effort. “In some others, however, there is still too little concrete information,” said the unionist. “It is therefore important now to advance the precise formulation and implementation of transformation plans – that is, future collective agreements.” Financing, but also qualifications and technology, are more difficult to organize for small and medium-sized employers than for large ones. “That is why it is particularly important that even more support comes from the networks that were founded for this purpose.”

In Lower Saxony – mediated by politics – several funding concepts and “transformation clusters” have been set up. It’s going pretty well now, said Gröger. “But there is room for improvement.” While regional structural policy is traditionally “lived practice” in the south-east of the country, this must soon also apply to other areas.

“State politics is already doing a lot here, and the Prime Minister is trying very hard to deepen the dialogue,” said Gröger. “But we would like an even stronger role with proactive support – also because a large proportion of the funds spent come from the federal government and then have to be redistributed. A kind of transformation radar should look more specifically: How great is the structural policy necessity of the funding in which Region?” (dpa-AFX / os)

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Lenny Li

I started to play with tech since middle school. Smart phones, laptops and gadgets are all about my life. Besides, I am also a big fan of Star War. May the force be with you!

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