Why are Germany’s construction workers going on strike?

Construction workers in Germany are to go on a nationwide strike after employers rejected a deal on Friday.

Stuttgart 21 construction site for the new railway train station (Photo: AdobeStock)

Independent mediators had suggested a formula which was agreed upon by the IG Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt (IG Bau) union towards the end of the previous month.

The formula included an instant increase of €250 per month, followed by another increase next April of 4.15% in western Germany and 4.95% in eastern Germany.

The unions had originally demanded an increase of €500.

But in a press release issued earlier this month, the German construction employers’ federation Hauptverband der Deutschen Bauindustrie said it rejected the mediators’ formula. 

The chief negotiator for employers, Uwe Nostitz, argued that the proposal contained serious shortcomings. These include inconsistencies in the remuneration of trainees who would receive less money from training grants in their second year than their first, as well as workers in some pay bands in eastern Germany receiving more than their counterparts in western parts of Germany.

Nostitz has also expressed his concern that the strikes will lead to construction delays, causing economic damage.

But IG Bau spokesman Robert Feiger stated that the mood in construction is “well below zero” following a lack of “any respect and recognition” from the companies.

Following this, the IG Bau labour union called on members in the state of Lower Saxony to strike on Monday (May 13).


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