Labor dispute

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Industrial action is a collective term from collective labor law and describes the exertion of collective pressure through strikes , lockouts by employees or employers or boycotts to regulate conflicts of interest in the negotiation of wages and other working conditions. Industrial action is to Nipperdey "the distinction made by the parties of working life disruption of industrial peace to achieve by pressing a specific goal or long-term goal."

Forms of industrial action

The strike is the most important form of industrial action by workers. In addition, Hans Matthöfer has described a wide range of strike-like forms of covert and open industrial action: u. a. Restraint in performance (“braking”), slow strikes, silent boycotts, buyers' strike, spontaneous work stoppages, sit-in strikes.

Conditions of success

Unions usually go on strike in those companies whose workers are highly unionized in order to prevent a large number of unorganized people from acting as strike breakers and to keep production going.

During a strike, the employer does not have to pay wages according to the principle “ no work, no wage ”. The union therefore pays its members support payments from the strike fund . The state must maintain its neutrality in industrial disputes (see collective bargaining autonomy ), and consequently it is not allowed to pay unemployment benefits to strikers and people locked out , even if they do not receive any support from the union. The employment contract is not canceled for the duration of the labor dispute, but only suspended, which means that there is no obligation for either party.

The decision of a company to participate in a lockout of its employers' association depends on its loyalty to the association, which will find its limit where the economic existence is at stake.

For the union, the chances of success of a labor dispute depend essentially on the company's order situation and the situation on the labor market. When production is busy and demand is stable, companies especially shy away from lengthy labor disputes. The less qualified work is, the better the chances are for the employee side and vice versa.

Industrial action law

The admissibility of industrial action is regulated by industrial action law and is regulated nationally.

Extended industrial action

Further possibilities of industrial action on the part of the workers are the blockade of non-striked companies, demonstrations and calling on the company's customers to boycott them . If a strike is not possible or strategically inopportune, employees can also do duty according to regulations , the so-called "slow strike".

Employers also have advanced weapons at their disposal. You can counter a strike with a lockout , which according to German labor law - like the strike - is subject to the principle of proportionality, i.e. a limited strike must not be answered with a total lockout .

As a further weapon, employers have the option of so-called "cold lockouts". As a consequence of a strike that does not affect them directly, they can temporarily fire workers on the grounds that the lack of supplies from companies on strike shut down production in their factories. Such "cold locked out" are entitled to short-time allowance under certain conditions .

See also


  • Peter Berg, Helmut Platow, Christian Schoof, Hermann Unterhinninghofen: Collective bargaining and industrial action law. Compact commentary , Bund-Verlag, 3rd edition Frankfurt 2010, ISBN 978-3-7663-3996-6
  • Michael Kittner : Labor Dispute: History - Law - Present. CH Beck, 1st edition, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-406-53580-1
  • Hans Matthöfer : Strikes and strike-like forms of the struggle of workers in capitalism . In: Dieter Schneider (Ed.): On the theory and practice of the strike . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1971, pp. 155-209.
  • Walther Müller-Jentsch : Strikes and strike movements in the Federal Republic 1950-1978 . In: Joachim Bergmann (Ed.): Contributions to the sociology of the trade unions . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1979, pp. 21-71.
  • Peter Renneberg: Manual of collective bargaining policy and labor disputes , VSA Verlag, Hamburg 2011. ISBN 978-3-89965-487-5 .
  • Peter Renneberg: The labor disputes of tomorrow? , VSA - Verlag Hamburg 2005, ISBN 3-89965-127-8

Web links

Wiktionary: industrial action  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Nipperdey : Labor Law, III. Part , quoted from: Martin Donath: industrial action. In: Friedrich Karrenberg (Hrsg.): Evangelisches Soziallexikon / On behalf of the German Evangelical Church Congress . Stuttgart: Kreuz-Verlag 1954, p. 66.
  2. ^ Hans Matthöfer: Strikes and strike-like forms of the struggle of the workers in capitalism . In: Dieter Schneider (Ed.): On the theory and practice of the strike . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1971, pp. 155-209.
  3. Consequences of labor disputes for employers affected by third parties. BDA , May 19, 2015
  4. § 100 Short-time work allowance in the event of labor disputes , Federal Employment Agency , business instructions, as of June 2013, p. 113 ff.