Spd and unions are getting closer again

Spd and unions are getting closer again

There are still a number of differences to be resolved regarding retirement at 67 and the level of pensions, as the leaders of the SPD and the DGB freely admitted after a meeting.

The newly crowned SPD candidate for chancellor, peer steinbruck, summed up the relationship as follows: "the trade union movement and the SPD are relatives. But they don’t live in a housing community. That’s why there’s a whole series of commonalities. But we also differ on one or two points. But we deal with each other in such a way that we can talk about it."

The fact that the meeting took place one day after steinbruck’s unanimous nomination is, in the words of DGB head michael sommer, due solely to "the coincidence of colleagues. The date had been agreed for a long time. "We have worked out both differences and commonalities on the issue of pensions."

After the meeting, steinbruck reiterated the position he had already taken in the dispute over retirement at 67: "we need such adjustments to secure the financial basis of the social security system."

He spoke of "bridges" that the SPD wants to build for unions and workers on the "complicated issue of retirement at 67": "to mitigate the difficulties that, under demographic pressure, led the SPD to decide at the time to raise the retirement age".

SPD leader sigmar gabriel called for a return to "what used to be called the social market economy. Things are out of kilter, and we want to work together to restore social balance in germany."After the devastating election defeat in 2009, the social democrats moved in the direction of the DGB. Because a good six million union members are also voters. No party wants to do without them, especially not the SPD.

DGB head michael sommer does not see a sundenfall in the reapproach: the DGB remains independent of party politics, and will also talk to the other parties. The DGB no longer makes election recommendations like those made by helmut kohl. But there is a catalog of political demands that the DGB wants to make of the parties in the 2013 federal election campaign.

The unions are calling for a stabilization of pension levels, the suspension of retirement at 67, and an "equity tax" for wealthy people – in the form of a one-time wealth tax of three percent of wealth above 500,000 euros for single people and one million euros for married people.

For gabriel, getting back in touch with the unions right after his election three years ago was a matter close to his heart. His short-time-operators bit with it with the trade unions still on granite. There is no doubt that this has again increased the intersection between the DGB and the SPD. The unions can hope that this will give them more clout in pushing through their own positions – for example, the demand for a statutory minimum wage or the damming of temporary work or mini-jobs. Especially if the SPD manages to return to government.

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