Companies in the Metal and Electrical Engineering Industries (MET industry) are facing major challenges and the uncertainties are currently greater than ever: the war in Ukraine, impending energy shortages, lockdown in China, lack of raw materials, rapid price increases for energy and raw materials, shortage of skilled workers and applicants for training positions. On top, investments in the structural change of the MET industry are needed. Companies always have to deal with uncertainties and economic crises. But the risks have never been as many as they are now. And the economic situation of the approximately 25,700 companies in the MET industry with their almost 3.9 million employees is currently more varied than ever.

A return to the pre-crisis level of 2018 is currently out of question. Companies are still producing around 12 percent less today than before the 2018 crises. In the same period, however, employment in the MET industry has remained almost stable and the number of jobs has only fallen by 3 percent. This shows that companies are sticking to employment despite Corona and a lack of parts.

In this special situation, companies need reliability, predictability and the clear sign that it is worth persevering. The uncertainties must not be increased intentionally. Because the MET industry is basically well positioned. Customers all over the world are still interested in our solutions, and incoming orders are satisfactory. But: The companies cannot process the orders because there is a lack of material and intermediate goods, because the pandemic is not over and there is a shortage of skilled workers. In some cases, however, the orders can no longer be processed to cover costs because intermediate goods and materials have become more expensive without the customers being willing to pay higher prices.

In addition, many companies used their financial reserves during the corona pandemic to maintain employment, even though there were no orders. They now have to catch up and earn some money to be able to finance the needed investments for structural change.

In this round, it should therefore be less about distributing growth and more about how we can create growth. To do this, investments in new technologies must be the focus. And the employees know very well: If wages rise too much, the products will become too expensive and then the companies will get fewer orders tomorrow. That means at the same time fewer jobs.

In this situation, the social partners have a special responsibility. With the most recent collective bargaining agreements, we have also been able to regain trust in the industrial relations system among companies. Our common interest must be not to risk that again. We want to strengthen the regional collective bargaining scheme. To this end, it must be seen as an advantage by all those involved, including the companies.

All of this shows that if companies and employees pull together, we can master these challenges. That’s why the following also applies to the MET collective bargaining round 2022: Forward together!