While the Chancellor wants to encourage the unions to keep quiet with a one-off payment for employees, the Union is proposing broader relief against high inflation: For example, permanently cheaper local transport or reductions in VAT for groceries.
Before the crisis meeting between Chancellor Olaf Scholz and employers and trade unions on Monday, the CDU social wing called for extensive further relief for citizens. In a resolution paper, the workers' wing of the Union (CDA) calls for a temporary reduction in VAT on staple foods, co-payments for Hartz IV recipients and lower prices in local public transport in the long term, as the Funke newspapers reported at the weekend.
"VAT on staple foods, which have become up to 40 percent more expensive, must be temporarily reduced. The bag of chips must not be cheaper than the carrot juice," the paper says. The energy cost flat rate of 300 euros gross must be made available "also to pensioners and students as well as pension recipients and recipients of wage replacement benefits" such as young parents.
In addition, the benefits of the basic security "promptly - in the event of extraordinary price increases, if necessary in special rounds - to be adjusted". According to the report, it is also required that local public transport must “be permanently cheaper”. At the same time, the infrastructure must be expanded, "every medium-sized center must have a rail connection". In addition, a distance allowance is needed “regardless of income”. The aim is to relieve commuters more fairly.
In order to secure the finances of the statutory health insurance companies, the CDA indirectly advocates higher contributions for people with high incomes. An increase in the contribution assessment limit should be "no taboo". Before the concerted action on Monday, the deputy CDA federal chairman Axel Knoerig appealed to those involved to look for solutions, especially in dealing with the increased prices. "Inflation must not eat up wage increases," he told the Funke newspapers. "We have to take countermeasures with tax measures, otherwise workers will have less and less in their wallets." Heating and buying food must not become a luxury.
The Union's consumer expert, Volker Ullrich, told the Funke newspapers that high inflation is already having a massive impact on many people's everyday lives. "The state has a social responsibility to take special care of those who are currently most affected," emphasized the CSU politician.
Scholz receives representatives of employers, trade unions and the Bundesbank in the Chancellery on Monday to discuss measures to combat high inflation. According to media reports, the chancellor wants to introduce a tax-free one-off payment to employees and, in return, only moderate wage increases. Employers, trade unions, the opposition and, most recently, representatives of the governing parties reacted negatively.