Labor peace

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Industrial peace is a labor law term that is of great importance in Switzerland . It means that conflicts between employer and employee organizations are resolved not through combat measures, but at the negotiating table.

Recognized interest groups on both sides are a basic condition for a functioning industrial peace. The agreements made (e.g. GAVs ) must be binding for a large number of the companies and employees concerned in a sector or region. Furthermore, arbitration bodies and procedures that are accepted by both sides must be in place in order to ensure that industrial peace is maintained.

In the period of full employment in particular, industrial peace was seen by many scientists and politicians as the most important basis for prosperity , social security and political stability.

Legal basis

The right to strike and lockout (the temporary exemption of employees from their duty to work by an employer in a labor dispute without continued payment of wages) is laid down in Article 28, Paragraph 3 of the Federal Constitution . Labor relations must be affected and there must be no conflicting obligations to maintain labor peace or to conduct arbitration negotiations.

The legal basis for industrial peace is Art. 357a of the Code of Obligations . It stipulates the duty of industrial peace for all subjects regulated in the GAV and allows combat measures only for other subjects (relative peace obligation). The peace obligation can be extended to all items in the GAV (absolute peace obligation); Combat measures are then prohibited in any case.

If there is no collective agreement, the parties to the conflict can appeal to the cantonal or, if the disputes affect more than one canton, the federal arbitration board of SECO in the case of collective labor disputes . After the establishment of the federal arbitration board, there is a peace obligation of 45 days, which can be extended by a unanimous decision of the arbitration board.


As a breakthrough in the frozen fronts of the class struggle and forerunner to today granted consideration social partnership , the so-called peace agreement of 1937. applies On July 19, 1937, signed in Zurich the Swiss Employers' Association and the trade unions ( Ernst Dübi respectively. Konrad Ilg ) a five-page agreement for the Watch and metal industry. It concluded the public debate that arose towards the end of the 1920s about the role of employees in Swiss companies and about labor disputes. The concordance principle was now also for relations between the social partners (social partnership). This collective agreement stipulated an absolute peace obligation and a multi-stage arbitration procedure. Both sides - the Employers' Association of Swiss Machine & Metal Industry and the Swiss Metal and Watch Workers Association , the Swiss Association of Protestant Workers and Employees (SVEA) and the Christian Metalworkers Association of Switzerland (CMV) - committed to addressing their problems on the way from To resolve negotiations and refrain from combat measures. Other important regulations are the procedure for resolving conflicts, wage determination and vacation regulations, as well as employee participation. In 1974 the agreement became a full CLA.

Labor and social peace gained a broad reputation in Switzerland, not least against the background of the global economic crisis and the Second World War . The relevant agreements in GAVs on working conditions, wages and working hours have spread rapidly since the end of the war and, after a wave of strikes from 1945 to 1949, continued the industrial peace.

In contrast to the Federal Republic of Germany, for example, hardly any combat measures are taken in Switzerland. Business associations and trade unions understand their mutual relationship as a social partnership and together propagate the advantages of industrial peace. Critics did not emerge until the late 1960s, v. a. the construction and wood union gained influence. Strike activity increased temporarily in the 1970s. In practice, however, labor peace remains essentially undisputed to this day. Its proponents argue that social peace has contributed to the growth of general prosperity for decades and has made Switzerland an ideal business location.


  • Renatus Gallati : The industrial peace in Switzerland and its importance in terms of prosperity in comparison with the development in some other countries. Dissertation, Bern 1976.
  • Gabriel Aubert : L'obligation de paix du travail. Étude de droit suisse et comparé. Georg, Geneva 1981.
  • Bernard Degen , Peter Farago , Giaco Schiesser u. a. (Ed.): Labor Peace - Reality of a Myth. Contradiction special volume, Zurich 1987.
  • Kurt Humbel (ed.): Good faith. Origin and history of the peace agreement in the Swiss machine and metal industry. Partnership fund of the Swiss machine and metal industry, Bern 1987 (commemorative publication for the 50th anniversary).
  • Christian Koller : 80 years ago: The »Peace Agreement« in the Swiss metal and machine industry , in: Sozialarchiv Info 2 (2017). Pp. 7-18.
  • Bernard Degen: From «exploiters» and «agitators» to «social partners». In: Images and models in social change. Pp. 231-270, Chronos, Zurich 1991.


  • Gaudenz Meili (script and direction): Faithfulness and faith - 50 years of peace agreements in the machine and metal industry (1988). Video streaming Condor-Film-AG, Zurich 1987.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Art. 28 Para. 3 BV.
  2. Art. 357a OR.
  3. Labor disputes. SECO website.
  4. IV. Peace duty in the federal law on the federal arbitration board for the settlement of collective labor disputes.
  5. ^ The peace agreement in the Swiss metal and machine industry in 1937. In: Markus Jud: Swiss history.
  6. ^ Bernard Degen : Labor peace. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .