Germany’s seaport wage talks stall


The third round of collective bargaining between ver.di and ZDS for German seaports ended without a result, with a fourth round scheduled for early July.

Germany's seaport wage talks stall

The third round of collective bargaining for the seaports between the United Services Union (ver.di) and the Central Association of German Seaport Operators (ZDS) concluded without a result after two days of negotiations on Monday and Tuesday (17 and 18 June 2024) in Hamburg.

The collective bargaining will continue in a fourth round at the beginning of July, with the exact negotiation date yet to be agreed upon.

“We are still far apart,” said ver.di negotiator Maren Ulbrich. “The offer presented by the employers is not acceptable to us. The employers still need to make progress, especially regarding the proposed wage increases.”

ver.di is calling for an increase in hourly wages of three euros as of June 1, 2024, and a corresponding increase in shift allowances. This includes compensation for the missing increase in shift allowances from the 2022 collective agreement, with a term of twelve months for the new agreement.

Ulbrich stated, “It is important that the lower wage groups, in particular, receive financial relief through these wage increases. Inflation in recent years has hit them especially hard. Additionally, the wage differences between various groups must be reduced, and there should also be an increase in real wages for the upper wage groups.”

Warning strike

On Monday, ver.di initiated a warning strike affecting ports including Hamburg, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Brake, and Emden, with workers at HHLA and Eurogate terminals in Hamburg halting operations.

Details on participation levels remained unclear, but German media reported significant disruptions in port activities.