Contrasting bargaining in energy and health sectors


The ver.di services union and IG BCE industry union have negotiated a new 21-month agreement with the Uniper energy company. There is a 3% pay increase for all workers and trainees from 1 July this year, followed by a 4% increase on 1 April 2023. There is also a change to the pay structure so that trainees taken on as employees are not placed on a lower starting rate. In contrast, negotiations in the GASAG gas company are much more challenging with ver.di calling a warning strike for 27 June after six bargaining rounds that have failed to bring the two sides closer together. The union’s starting point was a 7.5% pay increase over 12 months but the employer’s various offers over 12, 15 and 24 months have failed to get close to this. Meanwhile, ver.di’s starting point in its negotiations covering 10,000 employees of the Sana health group is an increase of €150 a month plus 8% in a 12-month agreement. The union argues that this addresses increased prices and a recognition of the extraordinary work done by employees. In the North-Rhine Westphalia region university hospital workers took strike action and joined a protest in Essen on 7 July in their continuing campaign to secure a collective agreement to reduce workloads, increase staffing and set staffing levels.