German Retailers Prepare for Minimum Wage, Handelsblatt Says

German retailers are preparing the introduction of a minimum wage for the industry’s 2.7 million workers in the first half of next year, Handelsblatt said, citing Josef Sanktjohanser, head of the HDE retailers’ association.

Exploratory talks with the Ver.di labor union may be concluded in January, before the start of the 2011 round of wage negotiations in April, the newspaper said. The lowest pay in existing wage contracts of 7 euros ($9.20) to 8.80 euros an hour may serve as a benchmark for the future minimum wage, Sanktjohanser said.

The retailers’ lobby is concerned that reports of “contentious working conditions” at some discounters are ruining the business sector’s public image, Sanktjohanser said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rainer Buergin in Berlin at rbuergin1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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