The 580,000 employees in the German chemical and pharmaceutical industry will in future receive more money and a new employer-financed long-term care insurance. The union IG mining, chemistry, energy (IG BCE) and the Federal Employers Association Chemistry (BAVC) agreed on this in their collective bargaining talks. Thus, from July 2020 wages will increase by 1.5 percent. From July 2021 onwards, salaries are expected to rise by a further 1.3 percent for nine months, as both sides reported in Wiesbaden. For the first half of 2020, there should be one-time payments.

The employers sat down with a long term of up to 29 months, which ends in March2022 at the latest. They also referred to empty months for 2019. "With an extraordinarily long service life and very moderate fee increases, we were able to achieve our most important goals," said BAVC negotiator Georg Müller. With the longest run since 1987, the agreement gives companies a long planning security.

The IG BCE, which had previously demanded "noticeable" wage increases above inflation, now had to settle for moderate increases. For this, the union enforced supplementary health insurance, which according to IG BCE will be set up in July 2021. Employers pay the premium for employees with more than six months' employment. In the case of a long-term care, the policy comes at a cost. In case of care, the insured person receives 300 Euro per month for outpatient care and 1000 Euro per month for inpatient care. The insurance may be increased privately or extended to family members. The IG BCE spoke of a nationwide unique regulation.

Union has an "exhausting negotiation marathon" behind it

The union has a "power-consuming negotiation marathon" for the concerns of employees behind them, said the deputy IG-BCE boss Ralf Sikorski. It was worth it. "Nothing bothers them so much as the growing work density and the question of financial security in old age," he said.

Both sides also agreed on a future account to save working time. This is intended to give employees more flexibility by taking extra days off, long-term savings, or retirement time. The account will start in2020 and will grow to five days off per year or 23 percent of fixed-rate monthly income by 2022, according to IG BCE. The employers emphasized that, however, individually longer working times could also be agreed upon. The work will be ensured in all companies.

Furthermore, further education should make people in Germany's third-largest industrial sector, after the automotive and mechanical engineering, fit for digitization.

IG BCE and the Federal Employers' Association Chemie had started the second round with complex discussions, which were hampered by the sharp drop in sales in the industry this year. The chemical and pharmaceutical industry has had record years, but suffers from trade conflicts and weak industrial demand. In the last bargaining round, employers and IG BCE had agreed on average income increases with a total volume of 4.6 percent for 15 months.