German union demands 10.5% pay rise for public-sector staff

GERMANY'S biggest services union is demanding pay increases for public-sector employees of at least 10.5 per cent and no less than 500 euros (S$696.3) a month to avoid real losses amid record inflation.

Verdi, which represents some 5 million public-sector workers in Germany, is also advocating for an additional 200 euros a month for apprentices, interns and students.

"Rapidly rising prices have to be responded to with permanent wage increases, especially for those who do not have such high incomes," Verdi chairman Frank Werneke said in a statement.

Verdi has also called for wage hikes in other sectors, such as the financial industry and airport staff. The government expects inflation of 8 per cent this year and 7 per cent next year, when it sees the economy shrinking by 0.4 per cent.

The union's demands would cost an additional 1.4 billion euros a year and represent raises of more than 20 per cent among some lower-paid workers, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday (Oct 12). If spread more widely, the higher wages could cost about 4.7 billion euros.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said workers are right to expect "appropriate salary responses" to the energy crisis and inflation surge but that state and municipal budgets are under pressure, adding that she is confident of reaching an agreement. BLOOMBERG

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