Tariff autonomy

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Collective bargaining autonomy is the right of coalitions , anchored in Article 9 (3) of the Basic Law , to conclude agreements (according to the Collective Bargaining Act with normative effect) free of state interference with working and economic conditions, in particular collective bargaining agreements on wages and working hours .

Content and meaning of collective bargaining autonomy

Negotiating collective agreements is an essential purpose of the collective bargaining parties ( trade unions and employers' associations ). It is part of the freedom of association under Article 9 (3) of the Basic Law and is thus constitutionally guaranteed. Not only the autonomous conclusion of collective agreements, i.e. free of state influence, is protected, the constitutionally protected means also include industrial action aimed at the conclusion of collective agreements.

The collective bargaining autonomy is specified in the Collective Bargaining Act of April 9, 1949 (amended several times since then, most recently in 2018). In the works constitution law, Section 77 (3) BetrVG guarantees collective bargaining autonomy in that "the parties to the collective bargaining agreement are given priority to collectively regulate material working conditions, with the result that where the parties to the collective bargaining agreement have made use of their standard-setting authority, the company partners are no longer entitled to do so. “This also applies to employers who are not bound by collective bargaining agreements , since“ competition regulations ”in the form of works agreements could also disrupt the functioning of collective bargaining autonomy. So-called "opening clauses" can be used to open collective agreements for supplementary works agreements between management and works councils. The works council takes on the role of a subsidiary tariff actor. This practice, referred to by experts as “corporateization of collective bargaining policy”, allows general collective bargaining provisions to be flexibly adapted to company conditions.

The relevant principles of industrial action law were developed by the Federal Labor Court in the event of inactivity by the legislature through judicial legal training .

The collective bargaining autonomy can be restricted in order to protect the fundamental rights of third parties and other constitutional rights. For example, the collective bargaining autonomy was restricted in the Collective Bargaining Authority Strengthening Act 2014 to the effect that the bargaining parties are prohibited from agreeing wages below the minimum wage .

The scope of collective bargaining autonomy is politically controversial.

From a socio-philosophical point of view, the legal figure and the practice of collective bargaining autonomy are an application of the principle of subsidiarity : the state as a higher-level political unit does not see it as its task to set concrete wage and working conditions. This is reserved for the parties to the collective bargaining agreement who are familiar with the matter. They are thus granted an economic and socio-political order of their own. The creator of modern German labor law, Hugo Sinzheimer , describes this as a "legal decentralization of state legislation", because the collective agreement sets binding legal norms that apply directly and compulsorily to the members of the contracting parties ( Section 4 (1) TVG). In this way, the parties to the collective bargaining agreement are provided with “state sanctions lending” without the state completely withdrawing, which continues to set the legal framework for their autonomy. Limitations and restrictions on collective bargaining autonomy are also imposed by the Federal Labor Court with fundamental decisions (“ judges' law ”).

With the constitutionally guaranteed collective bargaining autonomy, the labor market is exempted from the ban on cartels . Even Walter Eucken , one of the architects of the Social Market Economy , pointed out was that as far as possible between Sachgüter- and labor markets to be distinguished; because “work is not a commodity”.


  • Kurt H. Biedenkopf : Limits of collective bargaining autonomy . CF Müller, Karlsruhe 1964 (habilitation paper, Frankfurt am Main).
  • Fanny Imle: Commercial Peace Documents . Origin and development history of collective bargaining communities in Germany . Jena 1905.
  • Walther Müller-Jentsch : Attempt on collective bargaining autonomy. Origin and functions of collective negotiation systems in Great Britain and Germany. In: ders .: Work and Citizen Status. Studies on social and industrial democracy. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2008, pp. 87–120.
  • Walther Müller-Jentsch: tariff autonomy. About the organization of the labor market through collective agreements. Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2018. ISSN 2197-6708 - ISBN 978-3-658-21227-8 .
  • Jürgen P. Nautz: Implementation of collective bargaining autonomy in West Germany. The Collective Bargaining Act of April 9, 1949 . Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main et al. 1985, ISBN 3-8204-8099-4 ( European university publications, series 2: Jurisprudence 409), (At the same time: Düsseldorf, Univ., Diss., 1983: The Origin of the Collective Agreement Act of April 9, 1949 ) .
  • Hugo Sinzheimer : The tariff concept in Germany . In: Hugo Sinzheimer: Labor law and legal sociology. Collected essays and speeches. Published by Otto Kahn-Freund and Thilo Ramm . Europäische Verlagsanstalt, Frankfurt am Main et al. 1976, ISBN 3-434-10094-6 , pp. 532-556 ( series of publications by the Otto Brenner Foundation 4).
  • Hansjörg Weitbrecht : Effectiveness and legitimacy of collective bargaining autonomy. A sociological study using the example of the German metal industry . Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1969 ( Volkswirtschaftliche Schriften 133, ISSN  0505-9372 ), (At the same time: Mannheim, Univ., Diss., 1969).

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: tariff autonomy  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Federal Constitutional Court, 1 BvR 2203/93 of April 27, 1999, paragraph no. (52).
  2. Decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of June 26, 1991, BVerfGE 84, 212.
  3. BAG, decision of February 24, 1987 - 1 ABR 18/85, Rn. 37 - BAGE 54, 191-210.
  4. BAG, judgment of January 24, 1996 - 1 AZR 597/95, Rn. 21-, BAGE 82, 89-101 = NZA 1996, 948.
  5. ^ Walther Müller-Jentsch: tariff autonomy. About the organization of the labor market through collective agreements . Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2018, p. 7.
  6. ^ Walther Müller-Jentsch: tariff autonomy. About the organization of the labor market through collective agreements . Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2018, p. 7.
  7. Patrick Zeising, Daniel Weigert: Constitutionality of the Minimum Wage Act . in: New Journal for Labor Law (NZA). 1/2015, pp. 15-22
  8. [1] (PDF; 281 kB), report by the Scientific Advisory Board at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labor from October 11, 2003.
  9. Sinzheimer, Hugo; Kahn-Freund, Otto (ed.); Ramm, Thilo (ed.): Labor law and legal sociology: Collected essays and speeches. Volume 1, Frankfurt am Main: EVA, 1976. - ISBN 3-434-10094-6 . P. 168.
  10. ^ Walter Eucken: Basic features of economic policy . Thousand. Reinbek b. Hamburg 1965, p. 185.