The services union verdi fears massive job losses in the corona crisis without an extension of short-time pay.
"Then there is a threat of high mab layoffs in the service sector," verdi head frank werneke told the deutsche presse-agentur in berlin. The CDU/CSU and SPD should therefore clear the way for an extension of the short-time allowance.
At this tuesday’s coalition committee, the heads of government are also expected to discuss extending the maximum period for which short-time allowances can be drawn – from 12 to 24 months.
Werneke explained that rising orders and sales point to an economic recovery after the corona slump. However, there are also areas, especially in the service sector and among automotive suppliers, that continue to be severely affected. "Air traffic is not really getting off the ground," said the head of the trade union. Cultural events took place in a highly restricted manner. Tourism continues to suffer. "The trade fair industry is in the doldrums."
Planning security through short-time work is needed. Werneke called for the increase to 80 and 87 percent of income to be maintained. Employees in the hotel industry, for example, could not make ends meet with 60 or 67 percent short-time allowance.
Werneke demanded that the reimbursement of social security contributions for the benefit of the companies be linked to the obligation to provide a living. "You can’t cash in on short-time allowances on the one hand, and then have redundancies on the other," he said.
There is talk in the coalition of combining longer short-time work with training for employees. The head of the federal employment agency (BA), detlef scheele, is also in favor of tying training to further training decreases. "Short-time allowances cannot be the means of choice for permanently solving structural problems that overlap with the corona crisis, for example in the auto industry," scheele told the "rheinische post" (saturday). Rather, it’s about "necessary transformations". "It is therefore wise to couple short-time allowance with qualification where it makes sense to do so."
It was up to the social partners and the employers to decide for themselves what qualification the short-time workers should do, when and where. The BA boss also buried a possible extension of the period for short-time allowance to 24 months: "we will not be through at the end of the year with the corona crisis and its effects on the labor market."
Verdi boss werneke rejects mandatory linking of short-time allowance and qualifications. "You must not narrow your view to sectors in the transformation process," he said. For example, there is a temporary underutilization of capacity among flight attendants or artists – no structural change in the field of work.
For companies and employees to be able to plan with certainty, there must be clarity by mid-september at the latest about an extension of the short-time allowance, the trade unionist warned. The head of the munich ifo institute for economic research, clemens fuest, had said that a pro verlangerung decision would be premature. "In principle, short-time work has the advantage of avoiding excessive layoffs, but the disadvantage of delaying necessary structural change," he told the "rheinische post" newspaper.
Verdi and the nahrung-genuss-gaststatten (NGG) trade union want to lend weight to their demand for a longer short-time allowance with an online petition. The necessary updating of corona safety and protection regulations must not lead to "the employees of entire industries being put in distress," says the petition addressed to chancellor angela merkel (CDU), vice chancellor olaf scholz (SPD) and the heads of the coalition.
In an open letter to the federal government and members of the bundestag, the union for metal, engineering and electronics also advocates an extension of short-time allowances. 30 group and general works council chairmen have already signed the letter.