Spring survey and wage settlement

26th of July 2022
Spring survey and wage settlement

Katja Scholz reports on the mood of the German cleaning sector, following the latest BIV report.

For the fourth year in succession now, the Federal Guild of Contract Cleaners (BIV) has carried out a spring survey. This enables member companies to present a picture of the general mood in the sector and to give their views on market forecasts, revenue projections and topics of current interest. Hence this year’s spring survey also reflected the war in Ukraine and its repercussions.

Almost 83 per cent of the companies polled declared their readiness to offer Ukrainian refugees a (temporary) job.  “We all hope the war will be over as soon as possible and people can return to their home country again” said BIV guild master Thomas Dietrich. “As long as employment or at least temporary employment helps to provide support for the refugees, our industry will be more than willing to offer assistance.”

One of the most noticeable effects of the war in Ukraine is without doubt the enormous rise in the price of electricity, gas, oil and petrol. As a service provider which relies on mobility, the contract cleaning trade has suffered badly from these cost pressures. On a scale of 1 to 10, the companies questioned rated the influence of rising energy prices at 7.3 as a significant source of pressure on budgets.

The second dominant theme at the present time, Covid-19, is likewise still having a marked effect on companies. A total of 90.8  per cent indicated a clear rise in the sickness rates of their employees in recent months, 62  per cent reporting a significant rise and just under 29  per cent a slight rise.

Short-time working, however, is less of an issue - just under 90 per cent of the businesses questioned currently have no employees on short-time working – on the contrary, almost the same percentage can actually see themselves increasing the number of employees.  They also identify a problem in finding suitable people.

And what do revenue projections look like for the current year? Fairly mixed: while 46 per cent anticipate increasing turnover, 32 per cent expect it to remain stable, while just under 21 per cent forecast a decline.

But the effects of rising costs are not only being felt by the companies themselves.  Employees are being hit hardest of all by the high level of inflation. “Employers in the contract cleaning trade have for decades been convinced of the importance of independent collective wage bargaining.

It is not for politicians to determine wage levels but for social partners to find mutually acceptable answers to the many and varied sector-specific demands of employees,” declared Christian Kloevekorn, chair of the BIV Wage Bargaining Committee at the start of the collective wage negotiations in spring.

The results were announced at the beginning of June: in the second round of negotiations the parties agreed on a two-stage increase in the universally applicable sector minimum wage and a rise in apprenticeship allowances.

“Set against a backdrop of extreme economic risks, the wage increases are approaching the red zone, though the long duration to the end of 2024 is a strong argument in their favour. The agreement underscores our fundamental belief that entry-level wages in the contract cleaning industry should continue to exceed the legal minimum wage,” said Christian Kloevekorn.


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