Decentralisation of Collective Bargaining in Germany – Recent Trends and Challenges

  • Decentralisation of collective bargaining takes place in different forms: wild decentralisation and organised decentralisation. Organised decentralisation takes two forms: derogations and through the transfer of regulatory competences to the workplace level entailing a shift in responsibilities from the collective bargaining arena to works councils and codetermination.
  • The relevance of these forms differs significantly between sectors in Germany as shown by the examples of the metalworking industry and the retail sector.
  • Wild decentralisation poses a fundamental threat to the German system of collective bargaining. Organised decentralisation demands for a new and more active division of work between trade unions and works councils.
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