According to the Verdi union, employees at German seaports should be paid significantly better in view of inflation. But the negotiations stalled.
According to the Verdi union, the third round of negotiations in the collective bargaining dispute over the payment of port workers ended without result on Friday evening after around ten hours of consultation.
The Central Association of German Seaport Companies (ZDS) has made a new offer, but this is “far below the real wage security demanded by ver.di in view of the current price increase rate of 7.9 percent and is not acceptable for the employees,” said Verdi- Negotiator Maya Schwiegershausen-Güth on Saturday.
According to Verdi, the ZDS had offered around 12,000 port workers in 58 collective bargaining companies in Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Bremen an increase in hourly wages of 90 cents and various lump sum payments. Overall, this would have represented a sustained increase in income of 4.95 percent at container operations and 3.75 percent at conventional operations. Verdi, on the other hand, is demanding an “actual compensation for inflation” that has not yet been specified in detail, as well as an increase in hourly wages of 1.20 euros – which in individual cases would mean a wage increase of up to 14 percent.
The Verdi collective bargaining committee therefore decided on Saturday in Hamburg, after several hours of deliberations, to seek another round of negotiations with the employer side. A new negotiation date with the ZDS should be agreed in the next few days. In addition, the employees in the affected companies should discuss the status achieved.
The third round of negotiations was preceded by the dockers’ first warning strike in decades. On Thursday they stopped work during the late shift in the ports of Hamburg, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Wilhelmshaven and Emden. For several hours, the handling of ships came to a standstill – which further increased the already massive delays at the quayside.
Dozens of ships are currently waiting to be cleared in the German Bight because container shipping has lost its stride as a result of the corona pandemic. According to calculations by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, ships with almost two percent of the global freight capacity are currently stowed in the North Sea. They cannot be loaded or unloaded in Germany, Holland or Belgium.