Municipalities warn of high tariff demands

Municipalities warn of high tariff demands

A demand of 6.1 to 7 percent plus a social component, as is currently being discussed by the trade union verdi, for example, would cost local authorities six billion euros. This is what the president of the federation of municipal employers’ associations (VKA), thomas bohle, told the dpa news agency on sunday.

The civil service association (dbb) and its collective bargaining union will meet in cologne on monday for their annual trade union conference. Initial statements are expected on the wage negotiations for the 1.3 million pay-scale employees at the federal government and local authorities starting in march. In addition to german chancellor angela merkel (CDU) and north rhine-westphalia minister president hannelore kraft (SPD), german interior minister hans-peter friedrich (CSU) will also come to cologne. Friedrich is negotiator for the first time on the employer side.

VKA president bohle said: "since 2008, municipal debt has been rising steadily and as of october 2011 is at an all-time high of 128.7 billion euros – an increase of 7.8 percent over the previous year."Demands in the order of up to seven percent are "not feasible" in this cash situation. Bohle expressed a similar view in the "rheinische post" newspaper.

In view of the increasing problems in recruiting qualified young staff, also in the public sector, dbb head peter heesen warned the federal government and municipalities against further rounds of savings. The state is "on the way to becoming a laughing stock," heesen told "focus" magazine. "The federal finance minister, for example, admits that 3600 positions in the customs administration are not filled. This means that one million enforcement cases, which according to experts would bring in 1.5 billion euros in revenue, cannot be processed."

At the same time, the bundestag has again approved an across-the-board job cut of 1.9 percent for the 2012 budget. Heesen: "the general nature of the problem is a cause for concern. Vacancies are no longer filled, so the average age rises."Moreover, in the next ten years, almost one fifth of the public service workforce will retire. Recruiting young talent is becoming one of the key challenges for the state.