The president of the employers' association, Rainer Dulger, commented on the results of the exploratory talks:
Berlin, 15 October 2021: "If the traffic lights really do indicate the right of way for reforms and modernisation, they can be an opportunity for Germany. We as employers and social partners are campaigning for sustainable reforms that will secure growth, employment and prosperity in the long term. Germany must not fall further behind. That is why it is clear: this traffic light alliance must not agree on the lowest possible denominator - we need a new departure in so many areas in Germany.
The debts we have had to take on must be repaid, social security systems stabilised and innovations driven forward. We are facing a huge structural change - driven by digitalisation, decarbonisation and demographics. Reform inertia belongs on the siding. We need relief for companies now, which is why it is right that no new taxes should be levied.
It will not work without reforms. Because whether it's pensions, healthcare or nursing care: if you want to maintain the social security system you have to reform it. And in this area the exploratory paper unfortunately delivers disillusionment. The planned expansion of funded old-age provision is very welcome. In principle, however, the outcome of the exploratory talks does not provide any answers as to how the impending increase in contribution rates in pension insurance and in social security as a whole can be prevented. The necessary commitment to permanently adhering to the 40 percent target for social security contributions is missing.
The fact that the minimum wage commission is now to be undermined is a serious encroachment on the autonomy of collective bargaining. This is a fire hazard. A minimum wage of 12 euros would interfere with more than 190 collective agreements and make more than 570 collectively negotiated wage groups redundant. Such a minimum wage limit would create an enormous upward wage spiral and thus make the labour market for the low-skilled incredibly difficult."