Friday is supposed to be crunch day in talks between unions and employers over public sector pay.
Verdi, one of the largest trade unions in Germany, earlier this month rejected an offer of a 3.3% pay rise staggered over two years for around two million public sector workers. Its claim was for a 6.5% pay rise this year.
Since the employers’ original derisory offer workers have walked out in a series of warning strikes. Now employers are reportedly considering an increase of 5.8% over 24 months.
Separately, IG Metall has said it would seek an annual rise of up to 6.5% for its three million members in Germany.
Even if workers get everything they are asking for, which won’t happen, it will be a most reasonable settlement. Particularly if you consider that they’ve had to stomach years of restrained pay growth.
And particulary if you consider that this squeeze on incomes for the 99% comes as the flow of euro-millions to Germany’s 1% has been getting considerably more generous over the same period.
Last year the CEO’s of Germany’s 30 biggest companies saw their pay rise 9% to the highest level for five years, according to management consultancy firm HKP .
The fat cats at the top of the 30 companies in Germany’s blue-chip DAX stock index earned an average €5.04 million in 2011, 8.7% more than in 2010 and the highest level since 2006, HKP’s study found.
Last year’s biggest single earner was Volkswagen chief Martin Winterkorn, who earned a record €16.6 million including bonuses. Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann was in second place with €9.355 million.
At the bottom of the fat cat ranking was poor old Thomas Quaas, head of cosmetics group Beiersdorf, who only took home €1.42 million , while Commerzbank chief Martin Blessig earned just €500,000 because the bank is currently under ‘state supervision’ (the state owns 25% of the bank and has given it €18 billion in state aid) .
Compared to fat cats else where around the globe, VW’s Winterkorn is the third-highest paid chief executive, behind Robert Iger of Walt Disney, with the equivalent of €21.85 million, and Hewlett-Packard’s Leo Apotheker with €18.12 million.