Interview with Guido Zeitler: “Compulsory vaccination through the back door”: NGG union boss rejects 2G in the workplace
The trade unionist considers a 2G regulation for restaurant or hotel visitors to be justifiable, even if it was only hesitantly adopted by the hospitality industry where it was already possible on a voluntary basis.
If the staff is only allowed to come to work vaccinated or recovered, that is “problematic”, says the NGG boss: “Some people would be excluded from their job and would have to be vaccinated through the back door.” Regular tests for the staff support his union expressly.
The hospitality industry would be particularly affected by the increase in the minimum wage to twelve euros and the increase in the mini-job limits, as planned by the traffic light parties. The NGG have the right to conclude collective agreements well above the minimum wage, said Zeitler. “Looking ahead, we want a skilled worker wage of 3000 euros.”
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He considers the raising of the mini-job earnings limit to be “one of the biggest mistakes in the exploratory paper” by the SPD, Greens and FDP. Around one million mini-jobbers worked in the hospitality industry, the majority of them women. They had to go to the job center in the corona crisis. “In this respect, what the traffic light is up to makes me angry,” said Zeitler. “Every job should be subject to social security contributions from the first euro.”
Read the full interview with the NGG boss here:
Mr Zeitler, the fourth corona wave is sweeping across Germany. Will all restaurants and hotels be closed again soon?
Unfortunately, I have the impression that politics is once again following developments and acting reactively. Fortunately, there are signals that a new lockdown should be prevented. Because that would have devastating consequences.
Are you in favor of comprehensive 2G regulation?
Where 2G regulations were possible but not yet mandatory, they were only hesitantly adopted by the hospitality industry. There are also economic reasons for this. I consider a 2G regulation for guests to be justifiable, but it would be problematic for staff.
One would exclude some people from their jobs and would have a compulsory vaccination through the back door. However, we expressly support regular tests for the staff. But there, too, many questions remain unanswered: How often is the test carried out, who pays, does the test take place during working hours?
What if employees refuse?
Then they are threatened with a work ban. We will definitely inform our members about this risk.
You are currently conducting collective bargaining in the hospitality industry in individual federal states. The traffic light wants to raise the minimum wage to twelve euros. Can’t you then stop the negotiations?
Under no circumstance. In Berlin we have already signed a collective agreement that provides for twelve euros for lower pay groups – and a surcharge of 50 cents if the statutory minimum wage is raised to twelve euros. Our aim is not to set minimum wages, but to achieve higher degrees.
The negotiations in Bavaria have been broken off. The industry association Dehoga criticizes that the wage increase required by the NGG in lower pay groups would mean more than 33 percent plus …
Employers themselves say the industry needs to get rid of the minimum wage image. In the hospitality industry, employees with vocational training work, chefs who cook for 1,500 people, they have responsibility. And yet the average gross income in the industry in West Germany is 2000 euros – 44 percent less than across all industries. In the future, we want a skilled worker wage of 3000 euros.
That will be difficult to enforce.
What is happening in the hospitality industry right now? Restaurants reduce their opening times or take additional days off because they can no longer find staff who want to work at these wages and conditions.
“When people buy a car, they also know that quality has its price”
Are customers willing to pay more for a schnitzel?
It won’t work any other way. We must not cross-subsidize a cheap schnitzel price with low wages. When people buy a car, they also know that quality has its price.
SPDThe Greens and the FDP want, when the traffic lights come about, to raise the earnings limits for mini and midi jobs. What do you make of it?
This is one of the biggest mistakes in the exploratory paper. Around a million work in the hospitality industry, the majority of them women. We saw what happened to these mini jobbers during the crisis: They were allowed to go to the job center. In this respect, what the traffic light is up to makes me angry. Every job should be subject to social security contributions from the first euro.
The traffic light is also planning to make the Working Hours Act more flexible, as required by Dehoga, for example.
It is a fairy tale that the Working Hours Act does not offer any flexibility, our collective agreements prove it. What employers want, however, are daily working hours of up to 13 hours. We won’t go along with that.
Above all, the DGB criticizes the fact that deviations from the maximum daily working hours should apparently also be possible at company level through works agreements. Are you afraid of being ousted as a union?
If the traffic light coalition is serious about strengthening the collective bargaining agreement, then it leaves its hands off the Working Hours Act. The apparently envisaged possibility of softening the law at the company level would run counter to collective agreements and encourage some employers to flee from collective bargaining agreements. In any case, we as NGG would not agree to a relaxation of the maximum daily working hours.
More: DGB warns the traffic light coalition: Hands off the Working Hours Act