CESI deeply concerned by new German wage unity law

22 May 2015

During its meeting in Königswinter (Germany), CESI's Post & Telecommunications Trade Council adopted a reaction on behalf of CESI regarding today's adoption by the German Bundestag of a new wage unity law (Tarifeinheitsgesetz).

CESI deeply concerned by new German wage unity law

Issuing a resolution at the end of their meeting, the Trade Council voiced its disagreement with the new law, which rules that within one firm there may only be one collective agreement (Tarifvertrag) for each group of employees.

CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger strongly criticised the new legislation: “This law means that the entire bargaining power for a particular group of employees in a company is given to the trade union that unites the largest share of these employees. All smaller trade unions can no longer negotiate freely with the company and try to put their own collective agreement in place. This law clearly discriminates against and puts at risk the entire functioning of small trade unions.”

Indeed, these new rules are highly questionable from a legal point of view because they threaten to abuse the principle of autonomy of collective bargaining and are likely infringe on the right to strike. The German Federal Labour Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht) already ruled in 2010 that the wage unity which the new law now tries to impose cannot apply in Germany. In this context, concerned smaller trade unions such as CESI’s member organisation GDL (the German Train Drivers’ Union) will challenge the law in front of the German courts.