The principle that a single collective agreement should apply in a company has underpinned German industrial relations for decades. Only the most specific and relevant tariff unit can simultaneously register the employees of a company. This practice has led to the result that, in companies where collective agreements overlap, only the agreement reached by the majority union applies. However, in 2010, the Federal Labour Court ruled that several tariff pluralities could apply in a company. Works councils can also negotiate areas of collective agreements in which the agreement itself contains a so-called “opening clause”, which allows the works council to negotiate the subject. In total, 3% of jobs in East Germany have company agreements compared to 2% in West Germany. .

Andrew Verboncouer • (920) 562-9601 •