After seven hours of negotiations, the seventh and most recent round of discussions between the union and the Chamber of Commerce regarding this year’s wage and salary increases for approximately 200,000 employees ended without a resolution. This is the longest negotiation in the past 25 years. The unions are demanding an 11.6 percent increase to compensate for the 9.6 percent inflation, while employers have refused to agree to this demand.
The employers expressed their difficulties in the negotiations, stating that they were willing to provide increases if an improvement in the framework was achieved. However, they also criticized the unions for their uncompromising approach, indicating that they had maneuvered themselves into a dead end.
Reinhold Binder, chief negotiator for PRO-GE, stated that if a resolution wasn’t achieved that day, the unions would expand their combat measures. The high inflation has put a strain on employees, who are demanding fair wage and salary increases that preserve their purchasing power. On the other hand, employers argue that the industry has slipped into a recession and that they cannot fully compensate for inflation.
Specifically, the unions are planning to escalate their measures by leaving it up to individual companies to decide how they can extend their strikes. Large companies may consider extending strikes to multiple shifts while others may extend them to two consecutive days.
The lack of resolution after seven hours of negotiations highlights how difficult it is for both parties to find common ground on this issue. The ongoing inflation has made it challenging for employees to maintain their standard of living while employers struggle with economic pressures.
It remains uncertain when or if these negotiations will resume or whether there will be any significant progress towards reaching an agreement on wage and salary increases for approximately 200,000 employees in Austria.