VDMA and IG Metall have joined forces with the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology in an "industry dialogue" in which they have committed themselves to using the economic opportunities arising from digitisation and artificial intelligence to secure the future of mechanical and plant engineering.
In his keynote speech, VDMA President Carl Martin Welcker reminded politicians of their promise to stimulate innovation efforts in small and medium-sized industrial enterprises through tax incentives for research. He also called for the reintroduction of the degressive depreciation allowance (deduction for wear and tear).
"The depreciation periods for digital investments are no longer up to date," he said at the meeting on Tuesday in the Federal Ministry of Economics. The CEO of Heidelberger Druck, Rainer Hundsdörfer, spoke out in favor of an early modernization of the WTO in view of growing protectionism. Until then, bilateral agreements would have to give new impetus to free trade worldwide.
The concrete result of the industry dialogue between VDMA and IG Metall, to which Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier had invited, is a comprehensive declaration in which the three sides underline the importance of industrial SMEs for Germany and Europe.
"Mechanical and plant engineering characterizes Germany as an industrial location like hardly any other industry. With more than one million employees, it is the industry with the highest number of employees," says the introduction.
The demand for skilled workers is addressed by the Minister of Economic Affairs, the VDMA and the IG Metall union as a central challenge "when it comes to the future viability of mechanical and plant engineering in Germany".
Together, they therefore want to promote a positive image of dual training and its diverse career and development opportunities in society. In addition, VDMA and IG Metall want to support their members in establishing a continuing education culture.
The declaration focuses on the joint commitment to exploit the opportunities offered by digitisation: "As a lead market and thus also as a leading supplier for industry 4.0, German mechanical and plant engineering is the decisive key industry in a networked production world. The industry is a driver of data-based technologies in all manufacturing industries."
Politicians, trade unions and VDMA are also committed to "free and fair world trade based on clear, international rules". The three partners are also in favour of an industrial policy framework for climate protection. The burdens must be organised in such a way that the value chains in Germany and Europe are preserved and relocations of production and investment to less ambitious foreign countries in terms of climate policy are avoided.
With more than 3,200 members, VDMA is the largest network organization for mechanical engineering in Europe. The association represents the common economic, technological and scientific interests of this diverse industry. VDMA was founded in November 1892 and is the most important voice for the mechanical engineering industry today. It represents the issues of the mechanical and plant engineering sector in Germany and Europe.