Real salaries rose in 2020

Even in the Corona crisis, employees were able to realize a real wage increase. However, the number of employees in German industry is falling significantly.

The trade unions demonstrated again this year for higher wages and better working conditions.

Dhe salaries of collective bargaining employees in Germany rose by an average of 2.0 percent in the year 2020, which has almost ended. The last time there was lower growth was in 2010 as a result of the global financial and economic crisis that had just been overcome at the time. Nevertheless, the employees were now able to realize a real wage increase of 1.4 percent due to the consumer prices, which rose only slightly by 0.6 percent, as the WSI collective bargaining archive of the union Hans-Böckler-Stiftung reported on Tuesday.

The Corona crisis put pressure in particular on the new contracts, which, with a 1.5 percent annual wage increase, were significantly lower than the increases for 2020 agreed in the previous year, which now earned employees 2.6 percent more wages. At the same time, many agreements were made to safeguard employment and to increase the statutory short-time allowance.

“In times of the corona pandemic, collective bargaining policy is making an important contribution to stabilizing wage incomes, which has a positive effect on overall economic development,” said the head of the WSI collective bargaining archive, Thorsten Schulten, according to a press release. The German collective bargaining system works even under crisis conditions and is able to obtain suitable deals. Overall, according to the announcement, around 18.6 million people received higher collective wages than in the previous year.

At the same time, the number of employees in German industry fell significantly in October. As the Federal Statistical Office announced on Tuesday after preliminary results, the number of employees fell by 166,000 compared to the previous year. That corresponds to a minus of 2.9 percent. The number of employees also fell slightly by 0.2 percent compared to the previous month of September. According to the information, a total of around 5.5 million people were employed in manufacturing companies with 50 or more employees at the end of October.

The number of employees fell in almost all branches of industry. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the decline was strongest in metal production and processing with 6.2 percent compared to the same month last year. In contrast, the number of employees in the manufacture of chemical products has risen. There the statisticians recorded an increase of 1.6 percent. Short-time working was not taken into account in the statistics.