“Collective agreement is not the only way”

Caritas President Peter Neher has defended the decision-making structures of the welfare association against criticism following the No vote on a nationwide collective agreement in geriatric care. The structure in tariff questions has proven itself.

According to a statement on Friday. Questioning the autonomy of collective bargaining because the outcome in this case is considered problematic is not appropriate for an organization committed to rule-following and transparency, he said.

Criticism of decision against introduction of collective agreement

Previously, 17 Catholic social ethicists had criticized the failure of the introduction of the collective agreement by a veto of the responsible labor law commission of Caritas. The scholars called on the federation to revise its decision, since otherwise its orientation toward the common good would be undermined and one would be placing oneself "in blatant contradiction with fundamental standards of the church's social proclamation".

In return, Neher called on ethicists to show respect for the decisions of the commission, which is made up of equal numbers of employers and employees, if they did not argue for the "first way". In the so-called first way, wages used to be set unilaterally by the employer; in the "second way," unions and employers negotiate wages and labor law. Churches use "third way," in which employers and employees negotiate wages and labor laws by consensus.

Association hadert with No to collective agreement

The Caritas president conceded that the commission's decision would for the time being prevent higher pay for many care workers outside the association. "Yes, it damages the credibility of Caritas, and it comes at an inopportune time for the Catholic Church," Neher said. He would have preferred a different decision for socio-political reasons. Many struggled within the association with the no vote.

The Caritas Association pointed out that a generally binding collective agreement was not the only way to achieve better working conditions for all nursing staff. "This must be reminded again and again, in order to contradict also a social-ethically narrowed evaluation."One supports the idea to link the Zulang of care facilities to a tariff binding. And also the care minimum wage commission and own proposals for a comprehensive care reform served the goal of a better position of care workers.

The trade union Verdi and the relatively small employers' association BVAP had negotiated a collective agreement for nursing care for the elderly. German Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD), however, can no longer extend it to the entire sector after Caritas voted against it.

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