Supply chain breakthrough as German workers and seaports reach agreement

Hamburg, Germany, August 3, 2022: Large container vessel Navios Indigo with stacked freight under the cranes of the terminal Burchardkai in the cargo port, blue sky, copy space, selected focus

Ports in Germany have struck a landmark collective bargaining agreement with its workers after months of strikes and supply chain unrest.

In the 10th round of collective bargaining with the Central Association of German Seaport Companies (ZDS), the United Services Union (ver.di) achieved a collective bargaining result for around 12,000 employees in German North Sea ports that provides a considerable pay increase.

German ports have continued to suffer from growing congestion from the strikes as the rest of Europe stabilises from the Russia – Ukraine conflict that began earlier this year.

“This is a very good result. Our most important goal was real inflation compensation so that employees were not left alone with the consequences of the galloping price increases. We succeeded in doing that,” said ver.di negotiator Maya Schwiegershausen-Güth.

“This would not have been possible without the extraordinary commitment of our colleagues, who stood up for their goals with warning strikes and demonstrations.”

The ver. di Federal Tariff Commission has already issued a resolution recommendation for the collective bargaining result.

The union will now initiate a discussion process with the members in the companies about the collective bargaining result.

On 5 September, 2022, the ver.di Federal Tariff Commission will then make the final decision on the collective bargaining result.

From 1 July 2022, the wages in full container companies in the corner wage group 6 (including special payment) will increase by 9.4 per cent; in the conventional and general cargo port companies, they increase by 7.9 per cent in the same reference wage group (including special payment).

From June 1 2023, the fees in the will increase by a further 4.4 per cent.

If the price increase rate is higher, an inflation clause comes into effect, which compensates for a price increase rate of up to 5.5 per cent.

In the event of a higher inflation rate, the bargaining parties have agreed on a negotiation obligation, including a special right of termination.

Meanwhile, a major strike is ongoing at the UK’s Port of Felixstowe. The ongoing crisis at the port could last for months as workers threaten strikes until Christmas.

The eight-day strike over pay by over 1,900 workers commenced on 21 August at the East Anglian port, the UK’s largest container gateway which handles over 4 million TEU per year.

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