Federal government: collective bargaining agreement: employers concerned about traffic light plans

Federal government: collective bargaining agreement: employers concerned about traffic light plans

federal government
Collective bargaining agreement: Employers concerned about traffic light plans

Employer President Rainer Dulger speaks at an annual conference.  Photo: Bernd Weißbrod/dpa/Archive

Employer President Rainer Dulger speaks at an annual conference. photo

© Bernd Weißbrod/dpa/Archive

The federal government wants more collective agreements for Germany’s companies and employees. But how can this be achieved? Should “state dough” only be allowed to flow to companies bound by collective bargaining agreements?

In the debate about state requirements for the economy, employers’ president Rainer Dulger spoke of plans for the federal government warned for more collective bargaining. “You can’t force a higher collective bargaining agreement,” Dulger told the German Press Agency in Berlin.

DGB boss Yasmin Fahimi, on the other hand, considers the plans to be inadequate. In view of billions of dollars in state support due to high energy prices, Fahimi demanded: “No more state dough for companies that are committed to social partnership in the form of co-determination and collective agreement revoke.”

Strengthening of collective bargaining coalition agreement

In their coalition agreement, the SPD, the Greens and the FDP announced that collective agreements would be strengthened. A collective bargaining agreement is to be introduced at federal level. In the future, the federal government should only be able to award contracts to companies that collective agreements keep.

dulger opposed the linking of public tenders and collective bargaining. “I don’t think much of that,” he said. “These rules will only make Germany more complicated and difficult,” said Dulger. “You will see, especially when it comes to public sector tenders, that fewer and fewer handicraft businesses are willing to make offers because the pitfalls are simply too great.”

Fahimi, on the other hand, told the dpa: “According to an EU directive, every EU member state must in future achieve a collective bargaining coverage of at least 80 percent, otherwise the government must draw up a national action plan.” In Germany, this is now urgently needed. The intended binding collective bargaining agreement in public procurement law alone will not be enough. Fahimi demanded: “The supply contracts of the federal government and the economic aid, for example to slow down energy prices, must be linked to the fact that companies feel obliged to serve the common good.”

Employer President: State may only intervene in a supportive manner

Dulger, on the other hand, warned that collective agreements are a matter for the collective bargaining partners. “The state can only intervene in a supportive manner. But you won’t get very far with constraints and bans.” Dulger said: “But we employers have to take a good look at our social partners and say: What have we actually done that our collective bargaining agreement has become unattractive for some? And do we have the joint will of the social partners to do this without the state change? Or are we so in each other’s way that we can’t do it?”

Dulger also said that a distinction must be made between employees who are subject to collective bargaining agreements and companies that are bound by collective bargaining agreements. “In companies, collective bargaining coverage has actually declined. The decline in union members is always forgotten in the discussion.” Nevertheless, collective bargaining conditions continue to be decisive for many employees. “After all, employers who are not members of the employers’ association or employees who are not members of the union can also use collective agreements for their working conditions.”

Dulger emphasized that there is good work even without a collective agreement. “Often also by choosing the central rules, but not all of them.” This modular tariff application is a contribution to more collective bargaining and the opposite of collective bargaining. “And if we rightly include all employees who agree that collective agreements should apply, but are not bound by collective agreements because they don’t want to be, then the bond is much higher.”

DGB against modular collective agreements

Fahimi strictly opposed modular collective agreements. “Bargaining is not a candy store where you pick and choose the prettiest,” she said. Collective agreements are the result of distribution struggles. “And collective agreements are complete packages that can also deal with working hours, holiday entitlements, care, health care, old-age provision and further training entitlements.”

Keeping only parts of this overall agreement would be like “taking the money out of the back of the employee’s pocket”. Fahimi demanded that employers end the possibility for companies without participation in collective agreements to be members of the employers’ association.


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