WIESBADEN (dpa-AFX) - Following the failure of collective bargaining in the construction industry, arbitration could begin next week. The parties want to win over the former President of the Federal Social Court, Rainer Schlegel, as mediator once again. On Tuesday evening, the IG Bau trade union declared the wage negotiations to have failed after three rounds. This means that the contractually agreed arbitration procedure will automatically be drawn.

According to IG Bau, the federal collective bargaining commission and the union's federal executive committee must first formally declare the failure. These formalities should be completed on Monday. Arbitration, which is limited to 14 days, could then possibly begin in the same week.

The employers had not submitted a negotiable offer, explained IG-Bau board member Carsten Burckhardt on Tuesday evening. "Two increases in income of just over three percent over 24 months simply do not compensate for the immense rise in the cost of living in recent years and months."

The union is demanding 500 euros more in wages, salaries and training allowances per month for around 930,000 employees over a period of one year. A strike is only possible after arbitration has failed.

Burckhardt explained that the construction industry was not doing badly across the board. Civil engineering, infrastructure construction and also public construction were on the upswing. Only the order situation in the construction of detached and semi-detached houses had collapsed.

The employers' chief negotiator, Uwe Nostitz from the Central Association of the German Construction Industry, explained: "Germany is in a severe construction crisis. Many construction companies in residential construction, the largest construction sector, are struggling with a massive drop in orders. The trade union is completely ignoring this reality of the construction industry and is sticking to its main demand." According to the employers, they have offered two salary increases of 3.3 percent for this year and 3.2 percent for next year./ceb/DP/stw