Collective agreements in Germany are legally binding, which is accepted by the public, and this is not a cause for concern.  [Failed verification] While in the United Kingdom there was (and probably still is) an “she and us” attitude in labour relations, the situation is very different in post-war Germany and in some other northern European countries. In Germany, the spirit of cooperation between the social partners is much greater. For more than 50 years, German workers have been represented by law on boards of directors.  Together, management and workers are considered “social partners.”  Once an interim agreement has been reached between the employer and union representatives, each union member has the opportunity to vote in favour of its acceptance or rejection. If at least 50% of union members who vote accept the agreement, it becomes legally binding. If union members do not accept the agreement, the employer and union representatives can continue negotiations. Alternatively, the union may call for a strike vote. In addition, a strike vote must obtain at least 50% of the vote. Very rarely, if a union cannot obtain ratification or strike authorization, it will waive its right to represent workers.
Collective agreements of form, registration and publication must be written; Otherwise, they are annular (Article 4, paragraph 1, Collective Labour Relations Act). They must also be registered and published with the Ministry of Employment and Social Security. Registration is made 15 days after this filing, unless the department has informed the parties of its formal refusal, as is only permitted for the reasons mentioned in the legislation. There is therefore some form of administrative control over certain requirements relating to the creation and content of collective agreements that work by refusing registration. However, since the law does not give administrative authorities discretion over compliance with legal requirements, the system is purely formal. Control of the legality of collective agreements is referred to the courts (Article 43). After registration, the agreements must be published within a fortnight in the Boletim de Trabalho e Emprego (Article 26). This publication is essential at the beginning of its validity. Under common law, Ford v.
A.U.E.F. , , the courts found once that collective agreements were not binding. Second, the Industrial Relations Act, introduced by Robert Carr (Minister of Labour in Edward Heath`s office), provided in 1971 that collective agreements were binding, unless a written contractual clause indicated otherwise. Following the fall of the Heath government, the law was struck down to reflect the tradition of the British labour relations policy of legal abstention from labour disputes. Unlike such restrictions, the law also provides for certain binding elements that a collective agreement must contain (Article 23, paragraph 1): the identity of the signatory parties, the extent and scope of their application, and the day they are signed. In addition, explicit pay levels for all occupations and categories need to be included in the pay scales (Article 23, paragraph 2). Although the collective agreement itself is not applicable, many of the negotiated terms relate to wages, conditions, leave, pensions, etc. These conditions are included in a worker`s employment contract (whether the worker is unionized or not); and the employment contract is of course applicable. If the new conditions are not acceptable to individuals, they may be contrary to their employer; but if the majority of workers have agreed, the company will be able to dismiss the complainants, usually unpunished. The Act is now enshrined in the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 p.179, which provides that collective agreements are definitively considered non-binding in the United Kingdom. This presumption can be rebutted if the agreement is written and includes an express provision that it should be legally enforceable.