No progress on shorter working hours in emergency services

Germany

The ver.di trade union has broken off negotiations with the VKA municipal employers’ organisation over shorter maximum working time in the emergency services. The VKA has only offered to reduce the maximum weekly working time from the current 48 hours to 44 hours per week by 2028. They completely rejected ver.di’s plan for a step-by-step move to a maximum working time of 42 hours. The union says that the VKA is failing to see what is happening elsewhere and risk losing workers to other employers. At the German Red Cross, ver.di has already agreed to reduce the maximum working time from the current 44 to 42 hours per week by 2028. In addition, emergency paramedics receive a monthly allowance of up to €400 at the largest provider of rescue services. Ver.di is determined to pursue the issue and it has called on works and staff councils to examine the legality of the use of the maximum working hours in individual cases. Meanwhile, the opening round of negotiations between ver.di and the Sana private health company covering around 8,000 employees did not produce an acceptable offer from the employers. The company has proposed a €2000 inflation compensation bonus for full-time employees for 2024 and salary increases of €150 from May 2025 and 4% from October 2025. Ver.di says this is not enough because it works out as just 2.25% over 12 months. The union is aiming for an offer in line with the public service agreements, with an increase of 12% and at least €400 a month.

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