Why don't we negotiate with doctors

Bavaria is negotiating separately with the doctors

Jürgen Liminski: In the wage dispute with the university clinic doctors, the federal states do not want to submit a new offer. This was agreed by the state finance ministers in Berlin yesterday. This means that the strike of the 22,000 university clinic doctors of the Marburger Bund will go into the twelfth week after Whitsun, unless there is regional agreement. The development in Bavaria points in this direction. There, the doctors have an offer that is well below the demands of the doctors, but also above the agreements of the collective agreement recently negotiated with ver.di for the public service. Kurt Faltlhauser, the Bavarian finance minister, has brought movement into the deadlocked situation with this offer. We have him on the phone now. Good morning, Mr. Faltlhauser!

Kurt Faltlhauser: Good Morning!

Liminski: Mr. Faltlhauser, what is your offer and have you already got a reaction from the doctors?

Faltlhauser: First of all, I have to say what this is about. The Free State of Bavaria is a member of TdL, the collective bargaining association of German states. We remain in this collective bargaining community. Only the collective bargaining community can conclude a collective bargaining agreement as long as there is a general collective agreement. What we can do, however, is - and you formulated it absolutely correctly - I want to bring some movement into it, I want to break freezes, I want to let people come to their senses. That is why we have the option of offering additional regional services on the basis of the existing collective agreement, i.e. paying more. Some countries cannot and do not want to do this, or other countries may not want that. I want it and, I am ready with the aim of at least ending the strike in Bavaria. I want to take advantage of this leeway.
I have a second option: I can allow the collective agreement that was agreed in Potsdam to apply earlier, not just from November 1st, but also earlier. This is also a possible offer that we want to clarify in more specific discussions. This does not mean that here in Bavaria I am, to a certain extent, initiating or concluding a federal collective bargaining agreement. I can't and I don't want to.

Liminski: You stay regional. Have the regional doctors' associations already reacted, positively? Will you be able to come to an agreement?

Faltlhauser: I can only speak of Bavaria. I have a big round. You know, this public display of muscles just pisses me off. There is also a lot of unprofessionalism here, I may say in all crudity. I know what I'm talking about. I was the TdL chairman myself. I am not referring to Mr Möllring now, I also mean that with regard to Mr Montgomery.

I had a big round in Bavaria, where chief physicians, administrative directors of the clinics, the Marburger Bund and assistant doctors sat there. The result of this round was astounding: everyone without exception said the end of the dispute as soon as possible, seek compromises as quickly as possible, and we also believe that medium-term problems and structural issues at universities play a role that cannot be included in a collective agreement can solve. That's why I also made the offer to set up a corresponding structural group. So the Marburger Bund doesn't get the offer every day, I have to say.

Liminski: Agreement as soon as possible. On all sides this is the wish you say. Does that mean an agreement before the World Cup?

Faltlhauser: If the Marburger Bund wants significantly additional benefits on top of what was agreed in Potsdam, it will get it. However, if there is an association ideology against it, I need a nationwide collective agreement. I cannot negotiate for Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. I wont. They have their own household. They have their own problems. But I can do it for Bavaria. If you refuse, I can only say in the direction of Mr Montgomery and his employees, then you have missed a great opportunity, because that became clear to me yesterday in the circle of my fellow Finance Ministers. They don't feel like each other, they offer the Potsdam collective agreement to the Marburger Bund. That's a collective agreement that the Marburger Bund negotiated. Ver.di did not negotiate a line itself. This is all the result of the negotiations and the efforts of the Marburger Bund. Ver.di just slipped into this stocking. If you fail to do that, then there is nothing I can do.

Liminski: One advantage of the collective bargaining community has always been the equality of doctors with salaries, so to speak. If it comes to a degree in Bavaria, that will of course put pressure on the other countries to follow suit, or there will be a run of doctors to Bavaria. Can't that lead to gaps in supply in other countries, especially in the East?

Faltlhauser: That's all nonsense. You will not believe that a doctor who works in Hanover leaves his job just because he earns 100 euros or 150 euros more in Munich. They are all fairy tales. There are completely different framework conditions for work. If he could earn € 20,000 more here in Bavaria for all I care, then one can speak of such developments. Everything else is just scare tactics.

Liminski: So the differences are very small?

Faltlhauser: You are clear. I have to say that for the finance minister in charge of the budget this is already significant additional money, but for the individual it really does not lead to emigration. We see that in other areas too, where the pay is very different.

Liminski: Aren't you afraid that the special collective bargaining agreement, if we call it that, or the special agreement could set an example for the fact that other trade unionized professional groups, for example the police, will soon also want an extra sausage?

Faltlhauser: The police are civil servants with us. We have very clear regulations here. I am not afraid of that. In that case: I just ask everyone, you, Mr. Montgomery and others, what possible solutions besides maximum demands do you now see. I am solution-oriented and that is why I have now looked for this path. If this path is not taken, then that was it.

Liminski: Bavaria single-handedly against the doctors' strike. That was the Bavarian Finance Minister Kurt Faltlhauser. Thank you very much for the interview, Mr. Faltlhauser!

Faltlhauser: Thank you. Speak to you soon!