After seven hours of negotiations, the seventh and final round between the trade union and the Chamber of Commerce for this year’s salary increase for around 200,000 employees ended in a deadlock. This marked the longest negotiation in the last 25 years. The two parties are at odds with unions demanding an 11.6% increase to offset inflation of 9.6%, while employers have refused to agree to this demand.
Employers have expressed their frustration with the negotiations, stating that they are willing to provide raises if only the framework is improved. However, they also criticized unions for their inflexible approach, arguing that they had dug themselves into a corner.
Reinhold Binder, chief negotiator for PRO-GE, commented on the situation and revealed that unions would escalate their strike action if no resolution was reached on that day. High inflation has put a strain on employees who are demanding fair increases in wages and salaries in order to maintain their purchasing power. On the other hand, employers argue that due to industry recession, they cannot fully compensate for inflation.
The unions have plans 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 opt for two consecutive days of strikes.
Despite ongoing efforts by both sides to reach an agreement, it seems like both parties are dug into their positions and are unwilling to budge from them.