Co-funded by the European Union

Germany: An Innovative Collective Agreement for the Metal and Electrical Industry

  • A new collective agreement sought to mitigate the impact from Covid-19 outbreak for businesses and workers in the metal and electrical industry until the end of 2020.
  • Key elements of the agreement were the suspension of wage increases and the facilitation of short-term working schemes.

The association of the metal and electrical industry North Rhine-Westphalia (Metall NRW) signed a collective agreement with IG Metall, valid from31 March until the end of December 2020. The parties agreed that no wage increase would be applied and measures to facilitate short time work schemes will be introduced. Furthermore, the agreement provides special support to parents with children below 12 years old, such as additional five days off if specific conditions are fulfilled. Metall NRW President, Mr. Arndt G. Kirchhoff, commented “in this dramatic situation, our companies have to be freed from anything that limits their liquidity. At the same time, our employees need the greatest possible security for their workplace”. He also underlined that “highly professional crisis management based on mutual trust is the order of the day”. 

The President of Confederation of German Employers’ Association (BDA), Ingo Kramer explained how “the partners of the agreement achieved an extremely fast and important result for the industry. It proves that the partners can find solutions, especially in difficult times”.

The agreement made use of the short time work scheme as extended by the recently adopted legislation, “Arbeit-von-Morgen Act” (Work of Tomorrow Act), of the 13 March 2020 and valid until December 2021. The short time scheme (Kurzarbeit) foreseen by this legislation allowed a subsidy payment for a percentage of wages due to loss of working hours, if 10% of the workforce is already affected as opposed to   one third required by the previous legislation. It referred to the Federal Employment agency for the payment of social security contribution for the lost hours, which is also available for temporary agency workers.