During what was probably the decisive tariff talks for the German metal and electrical industry, there were signs of a tough struggle until late in the evening. The first talks went constructively, said an IG Metall spokeswoman on Thursday after the negotiations were interrupted in the evening so that both sides can coordinate with their bodies. The spokeswoman did not want to say anything about the specific status of the negotiations. The evening will show whether an agreement can be reached in Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart. “At the moment we are still too early,” said IG Metall.

Pilot completion as a goal

In the fifth round of collective bargaining in the Baden-Württemberg district, employers and IG Metall want to achieve a pilot agreement that will then essentially apply to the 3.9 million employees in the industry in Germany. It was already foreseeable in advance that tax-free one-off payments totaling 3,000 euros could become part of a tariff package. However, the term and the amount of possible percentage salary increases remained open until the very end.

IG Metall went into collective bargaining with a demand for eight percent more money over a period of twelve months. Employers want to extend this period as long as possible in order to give companies planning security. Previously, they had linked an increase in the table fees to a period of 30 months.

“We are basically still confident, although the many discussions of the last few days and weeks have meant ups and downs,” said Harald Marquardt from Südwestmetall. You try to get an agreement – but it won’t be easy. According to the union, both sides had come closer to each other on many detailed questions in the past few days and created a jumping-off point.

Zitzelsberger: “Tariff nights are long”

“Not only Kreuzberg nights are long, but also tariff nights are long,” said IG Metall District Manager Baden-Württemberg Roman Zitzelsberger before the talks, with a view to their possible duration. In addition to the 3000 euros, what is needed above all is a permanent and strong increase in fees. “If we don’t get there, then this collective bargaining round will escalate – then we’ll talk about other forms of industrial action.”

The top committees of Gesamtmetall and IG Metall were also at the venue. Union leader Jörg Hofmann said: “I’ve been to Ludwigsburg several times and usually always came home with good results.” If the talks failed, he had previously brought up 24-hour warning strikes and ballots followed by widespread strikes in individual regions. “Baden-Württemberg would definitely be there,” Hofmann said. If no agreement is reached on Thursday, the union cannot return to the negotiating table very quickly.

According to IG Metall, almost 900,000 people took part in warning strikes throughout Germany by Thursday. On Thursday alone, 100,000 people temporarily stopped working. In Baden-Württemberg, more than 286,000 employees have taken part since the end of the peace obligation at the end of October.

General metal boss: Collective bargaining is always a compromise

General Metal boss Stefan Wolf said on the sidelines of the collective bargaining round that a collective bargaining agreement is always a compromise. He thinks it would be nice if there was an agreement on Thursday. “Day strikes and industrial action serve no one.” Everyone knows that you are walking into a recession.

Collective bargaining this year has been impacted by the dramatic rise in energy and material prices. Employers are therefore also calling for relief for companies that are already doing badly. There is also a need for agreement on what happens if there is an energy emergency.

The conclusion reached in the chemical industry at the end of October shows where the talks could develop. The IG mining, chemicals, energy had agreed with the employers on twice 1500 euros tax-free and two levels of 3.25 percent each. With a term of 20 months, according to the union, this results in an average of almost 13 percent more and can almost compensate for the currently high inflation rates.