Deutsche Post opens salary negotiations with trade union

Deutsche Post opened salary negotiations today with Germany’s united services union, Ver.di, with the union’s Tariff Commission deciding to ask for a 7% pay rise. Ver.di represents around 130,000 employees at Deutsche Post, which has around 470,000 staff in total.

The demand for a linear increase in income of 7% over 12 months from the end of this month comes against a background in which Deutsche Post was unable to increase stamp prices next year, because of a restrictive legal price cap.

Ver.di, which is also demanding a EUR 75 per month increase in pay for trainees and Deutsche Post students at vocational colleges, wants salary increases to reflect two years of recovery since the global economic downturn. The union’s ambitious demand also follows a 70% increase in third quarter net profits recorded by Deutsche Post last month, with earnings for the first nine months of 2011 up 40%.

Ver.di deputy chairman Andrea Kocsis said of the negotiations: “Workers need a clearly noticeable increase in income.”

A spokesman for Deutsche Post told Post&Parcel today that talks with the union began in a “very friendly and constructive atmosphere”, but the company has not yet submitted its own proposal at this stage.

Dirk Klasen said: “After the trade union Verdi submitted its demand, we’ve clearly stated that there is only a limited space for negotiations. Nevertheless, we strive for a constructive and fair solution by negotiations within the next few weeks.”

After beginning today, negotiations are expected to continue on 19 December.

The current labour deal with the union runs out at the end of this month. That particular deal began on 1 December 2009, and was based on a 3% wage increase for each of the two years, despite initial union demands for a 7% hike in pay.

This year, Deutsche Post and Ver.di separated out the collective bargaining process with separate deals for working conditions and for salary increases. The first part of the deal was agreed in October, with protection against lay-offs extended through to 2015 and a new “partial retirement” system brought in to help Deutsche Post to reduce labour costs.

The deal agreed in October did extend to wages for new hires, which will drop 4%.

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