Communicate positive developments comprehensively, do not badmouth Germany as a business location

BDA AGENDA 10/21 | Topic of the week

The positive developments in the labour market in recent years are clearly reflected in the Sixth "Poverty and Wealth Report". These successes are also noteworthy in international comparison: Germany has a stable income distribution, which is at the same time the most even of the G-20 countries, falling wealth inequality and positive developments in the long-term unemployed as well as wages and salaries.

The perception of social developments is central to political action. Therefore, successes must also be communicated and not only the need for improvement must be pointed out. Although the factual situation is very positive, the submitted "Poverty and Wealth Report" states that the vast majority of respondents wrongly believe that polarisation has emerged as a result of the continued growth of poverty and wealth.

This is a clear indication of an inadequate communication strategy on the part of the federal government, which needs to be improved. This already starts with the title of the report. Based on the positive factual situation, the report should actually be called "Fairness and Progress Report". The current title is misleading and contributes to the existing misconceptions in the public debate. The core task of the next federal government must be to reduce these discrepancies in perception.

A differentiated view of the Corona pandemic and a prudent assessment of the consequences The medium- or long-term effects of the Corona pandemic can only be assessed to a limited extent at present. Concrete conclusions are risky at best. Because of the impact on broad sections of society, the consequences of the pandemic must be considered in a differentiated manner. Otherwise, there is a risk of misconceptions about actual developments arising here as well.

A survey cited by the report already shows that a large proportion of respondents had the same or even higher incomes by August 2020 than before the pandemic. Studies by the Institute of the German Economy (IW Report No. 65), the ifo Institute / IAB (ifo Schnelldienst digital No. 16) and most recently by the DIW (DIW Wochenbericht 18/2021) confirm the cushioning effect of the aid measures.

Acknowledge the contribution of the social partners in the Corona pandemic In a government report such as this, it would be particularly significant to acknowledge the role of the social partnership. The social partners also mitigated the burdens of the Corona pandemic, not just government relief efforts. The social partners made, and continue to make, numerous agreements that supported their workers and protected jobs.

However, the "Poverty and Wealth Report" does not mention these numerous agreements in a single word; only the trade unions are mentioned by way of exception. The report fails to recognise that agreements on short-time working or job security are generally only reached through the joint cooperation of company and collective bargaining partners, i.e. employers, employers' associations, works councils and trade unions.