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Germany : agreement at Postbank allows workers to choose between more free time and more money
Planet Labor, 11 October 2019, n°11414 -

The trade union Verdi and the negotiators for German retail bank Postbank announced, on the morning of Thursday 10 October, that they have reached a compromise on the renewal of the company collective agreement. The 12,000 employees of the bank, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank since 2010, will receive a 4.75% increase in two instalments: a 3% rise in November 2019 and a further increase of 1.75%, or at least 110 euros, in January 2021. The agreement is valid until December 2021, covering 29 months overall. Verdi has managed to negotiate a clause that is becoming increasingly commonplace, which allows employees to receive their increase either in cash or in free time. Finally, the job guarantee that was already in place has been extended until the end of 2023. This agreement, which is rather favourable in the eyes of the union, comes one week after a deadline forbidding any strike action during negotiations had passed, and with Verdi having started to launch warning strikes in many subsidiaries. Beyond that, the difficult backdrop for these negotiations must be underlined. Postbank belongs to Deutsche Bank, which finally decided to merge some of the back office and service activities of the two companies. At the same time, Deutsche Bank chief executive Christian Sewing has set a target of cutting 9,000 jobs in Germany. Even if Postbank is not directly involved, the outcome of the agreement and the job security clause should provide reassurance to employees. While Verdi speaks of a “very good signal”, Britta Lehfeldt, negotiator for the Postbank management, described the deal as a “solid compromise” but did not hide the fact that her objective was, given the circumstances, a return to full activity as soon as possible.