Around three weeks on from the 2021 German federal elections, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which won the most seats as well as the popular vote, unveiled a preliminary deal alongside the Green and Free Democratic (FDP) parties with a view to forming a three-party coalition, which would be led SPD candidate Olaf Scholz as Chancellor. The document presented on Friday 15 October will form the basis of official talks between the three parties, who will negotiate, point by point, the measures that will be at the heart of the future “coalition contract”.
Among the social measures, the preliminary agreement provides for an increase in the legal minimum wage from €9.60 per hour at present to €12 per hour, from next year. This was one of the SPD’s key election promises (see article n°12682). The three parties have meanwhile struck a compromise on the topic of working time. On the one hand, they intend to support trade unions and employers in the development of flexible working time models. In future, employees should be able to “organise their working time more flexibly within the framework of collective agreements”. On the other hand, the preliminary agreement provides – as wanted by the FDP – for the creation of “limited scope for exemption from the current provisions of the working time law, with regard to the maximum daily working time”, but within the framework of collective or company agreements. In addition, the three parties state that they want to bolster codetermination and ongoing training, but without giving details. Finally, they agreed to modify the controversial welfare benefit “Hartz IV”, which would be renamed as “citizen’s income” (Bürgergeld).
Planet Labor, 18 October 2021, n°12743 – www.planetlabor.com