The wage agreements that have been made this year are substantial. Employees on average have not received this much on their pay slips since the early 1970s. “And the trend is still upwards,” says a spokesperson for employers’ association AWVN.
Wages rose by no less than 6.7 percent in November, according to preliminary figures. “But that is very exceptional, because few collective agreements have been concluded. The agreement at IKEA in particular raises the average very much.” The employees of the store in the Netherlands will receive a wage increase of at least 13 percent in a year. The increase can be as much as 17 percent.
According to the AWVN, the additional increase in the minimum wage may have consequences in the coming months. “Of course there are collective agreements where many people are on minimum wage or close to it. There are not that many, but it can have an upward effect on the wage average.”
A total of 385 collective labor agreements were concluded over the first eleven months of this year. This includes more than 3.9 million employees. The average wage increase is 3.3 percent. Salaries rose in particular in the metal sector, retail, education, transport and the chemical sector.
According to ING economist Marcel Klok, the average annual wage increase is now higher than a few years ago, but certainly not exceptional. “In the 1970s, wages on an annual basis sometimes rose by more than 10 percent. Many collective agreements included an automatic and substantial wage increase.” In 1975, for example, wages rose by no less than 15.5 percent.
‘Wage increases are accelerating’
The AWVN says that so far there has been a normal pattern. “This year we have seen that wage increases started faster. The question is, of course, how long that will take. There is, for example, an enormous shortage on the labor market. Employers are doing everything they can to retain or attract staff through wages increase.”
In addition, companies are providing more one-off benefits to compensate their employees for the loss of purchasing power. Such a scheme is included in more than a third of the collective labor agreements concluded this year and this trend is continuing.
“But on the other hand, there is a lot of uncertainty due to high inflation, high raw material and energy prices, the geopolitical situation and the war in Ukraine. We have not seen that contrast and combination before,” emphasizes the AWVN spokesperson.
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