Despite strong increases in wages, there are real wage losses.
The tariff agreements reached in the first half of the year, as well as salary increases agreed upon in previous years for 2023, have led to an average increase in German wage rates of 5.6 percent. However, due to significant price increases, there is an overall average real wage loss of 1.7 percent, according to a study conducted by the Economic and Social Sciences Institute (WSI) of the Hans-Böckler Foundation.
Due to tax and duty-free inflation compensation premiums, the losses for some employees are expected to be „significantly smaller,“ added the researchers. The effect of these legally enabled premiums cannot be fully taken into account in the calculations „because they vary depending on the individual tax rate,“ according to WSI on Thursday. However, it is certain that the agreed premiums contribute to purchasing power security in many tariff areas.
According to the study, agreements for wage increases had already been made for over 9.2 million employees by 2022 or earlier. This includes major sectors such as the metal and electrical industry or the chemical industry. The average increase in wages amounts to 5.1 percent. In the first half of 2023, new agreements with average wage increases of 6.6 percent will affect an additional 4.4 million employees, including Deutsche Post and the public service.
Looking ahead to further developments, the researchers from the union-affiliated foundation are optimistic: „In general, a more positive trend in real wage development can be expected for the rest of the year, as inflation is likely to decrease noticeably,“ they explained. According to the WSI, approximately half of the approximately 34 million employees in Germany who are subject to social security contributions have a collective agreement.