par Planet Labor
In spite of a good economic situation and wage agreement that are more generous than the previous years, Germany keeps recording a lower wage increase than most European countries. Forecasts show a stationary trend for 2008.
The debate on wage evolution in the European Union, and particularly on the slow wage increase in Germany is not likely to cool down given the figures and forecast recently published. In 2006 already, real wages’ progression in Germany was – 0.1% against +0.8% in France. In 2007, which unions had called “year of wage return”, the progression of real wages in Germany should only be slightly positive. According to the results already gathered by the Hans Blocker Stiftung’s (foundation depending from the confederation of German union – DGB) Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), German wages will increase of about +2.5% at the end of the year. Consequently, the progression of real wages will depend on the inflation rate at the end of 2007. The federal government’s official forecasts evaluate this rate at 2.1%, but figures from the last two months of the year might revise this projection upwards. This means that, at best, the improvement of real wages will be around +0.4% which, “within a European comparison, puts Germany at the bottom of the scale once again”, commented Thorsten Schulten from the WSI. In France, current forecast plan an increase in basic pay of 2.6% for an annual inflation rate around 2%, which means that real wages’ increase will, again, exceed Germany’s. In addition, the Mercer cabinet presented, at the end of November 2007, a study which includes the IMF’s inflation forecasts for 2008. It calculates the progression of real wages in Germany and Great Britain for 2008 around 1.1%, 1.2% in France and Italy, and 1.4% for Spain.
e-europnews, November 29, 2007, No. 070975 – www.eeuropnews.com