Before the new edition of the concerted action, Michael Vassiliadis, head of the IGBCE trade union, made it clear: from his point of view, wages are not responsible for the price increases.

The head of the chemical union IGBCE, Michael Vassiliadis, is opposed to putting low wage cuts at the center of the fight against inflation. In an interview with the magazine Capital and Stern, he said that the high costs for energy and “corporations that pass on their cost increases with a profit markup” are responsible for the price increases”. He asked the companies to say what they wanted to contribute when employers and unions spoke to Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). “I’m curious to see whether all sides will really bring something with them on Monday,” said Vassiliadis in the interview published on Friday. He acknowledged that theoretically there could be a link between wages and prices. “But so far we don’t have that,” he emphasized before the new edition of the Concerted Action.

Vassiliadis pointed out that a tax-free one-off payment – as suggested by Scholz in return for moderate wage settlements – is financially interesting for the employees, but not sustainable. The unions would consider an offer, but the Chancellery was not the place for collective bargaining. Ultimately, they would be run by employers and unions – “and it will also be about lasting relief for employees”.

Michael Vassiliadis: “The gas stop is a real threat”

The union boss also warned of the consequences of a complete failure of gas supplies from Russia. “The gas freeze is a real threat,” he said. If this happens, a “healthy balance” must be found to distribute the available gas. Vassiliadis rejected the idea that private households generally have priority over industry. “We’re going to have to argue as a society about what we want,” he said.

Bottlenecks in the gas supply would directly endanger jobs. Vassiliadis called for bridging solutions in order to be able to keep skilled workers in the company for two or three years even if energy prices were high for a long time or there was a shortage of supply. If the gas fails to materialize or becomes even more expensive, many companies would be faced with the question of whether to close individual plants or entire locations. Vassiliadis continued: “What can’t be the case is that we’re sitting in our swimming trunks in the living room at 24 degrees, but unfortunately we no longer have the goods that we urgently need for our basic needs.”

You can read the entire interview on stern