Compulsory arbitration

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A compulsory arbitration is in labor , a legal regulation of the labor disputes not by industrial action , but by a mandatory arbitration to be decided. A compulsory arbitration restricts collective bargaining autonomy . It is usually justified by the costs of strikes and lockouts .

Compulsory arbitration in the Weimar Republic

Art. 159 of the Weimar Constitution guaranteed freedom of association .

"The freedom of association to maintain and promote working and economic conditions is guaranteed for everyone and for all professions."

- Art. 159 WRV

Nevertheless, the demobilization ordinance after the First World War created the possibility of ending industrial disputes by means of compulsory arbitration. With the Central Working Group, an institution emerged after the war that was supposed to fulfill the Stinnes-Legien Agreement with content. However, this collaboration between employers' associations and trade unions was short-lived. In the post-war period, the number of labor disputes rose sharply. The reasons were the unions' struggles over the eight-hour day and the economic turmoil during the inflationary period . In 1921 and 1922 there were over 4,000 strikes each with over 1.5 million strikers. Employers responded with over 400 lockouts . After attempts to achieve a majority in favor of compulsory arbitration in the Reichstag in the crisis year 1923 failed, the Marx I cabinet issued the regulation on arbitration on September 30, 1923 .

The procedure in the case of collective bargaining disputes was now regulated in three stages: First of all, the collective bargaining parties were free in their negotiations. If these failed, each party had the right to appeal to the arbitration. In the arbitration committees there were equal representation from employers and employees. The arbitrator was appointed by the respective highest state authority and was bound by their instructions. He made a mediation proposal that the committee accepted. If the arbitration failed, the arbitration proposal was discussed again in an arbitration chamber, which was also equally occupied. In the last instance, the Reich Minister of Labor had the opportunity to declare a mediation result to be generally valid.

Arbitrators and ministers took action at the request of a party, but could also take action ex officio. In the event of conflicts, the labor courts - or the local courts before they were formed - could decide.

The arbitral awards were not always enforceable. A major conflict arose after two arbitration awards made by Ernst Mehlich . On December 19, 1923, he decided in an arbitration against a surcharge for the miners in the Dortmund mining district. On January 4, 1924, he confirmed the extension of the daily working hours underground to 8 hours. This reduced the miners' income by 25%. After the collective agreement expired on May 1, 1924, the unions demanded a 30% wage increase. Mehlich stipulated a 15% wage increase in his arbitration award and the minister declared these arbitration awards to be generally binding on May 1st. On May 6, 1924, a strike began in which 90% of the workforce or around 395,000 miners took part. Ultimately, Minister Heinrich Brauns had to give in and named the President of the Reich Labor Administration, Friedrich Syrup, as the special arbitrator. This was accommodating to the trade unions and suggested a reduction in the term, a separation of normal and overtime and an additional 5% wage increase. After the Christian trade unions had accepted this arbitration ruling and Heinrich Brauns had stipulated that it was generally binding, the strike ended.

At the request of the employers there was a legal dispute in 1929, which the Reich Labor Court ended with an important judgment on January 22, 1929. According to this, the amendment of an existing collective agreement could not be made by arbitration. Obiter dictum , the court declared the implementation agreement of December 29, 1923 to be invalid.

As part of the austerity Heinrich Brüning during the Great Depression , the instrument of compulsory arbitration has been used to wage cuts to enforce. It started with an arbitration ruling by the arbitrator Max Brahn on May 26, 1930, which included a 10% wage cut in the metal industry. Of particular importance was the arbitration ruling of the special arbitrator Carl Völker on October 10, 1930, which provided for a cut of 8% for the Berling metal industry. The unions held a ballot on October 13, 1930, which was in favor of a labor dispute with 85% approval. In order to prevent the Reich Labor Ministry from declaring the arbitral award to be binding, the Reichstag decided on October 18, 1930 with a majority of the KPD , SPD and NSDAP to ask the minister not to make a binding declaration. This decision was not legally binding, but in order to avoid a government crisis, the ministry was forced to waive the declaration of binding force. With the emergency ordinance of January 9, 1931 on the settlement of arbitration disputes in the public interest, the restrictions from the RAG judgment of January 22, 1929 were lifted. This made it possible to change collective agreements at any time via the compulsory arbitration by the ministry. In addition, the government was able to regulate wages directly through emergency ordinances. This was done with the emergency ordinance of December 8, 1931, which contained a reduction in wages of around 15%.

Under Franz von Papen , the compulsory state arbitration was abolished on June 15, 1932, and collective bargaining was restored. But this should only be an interlude: With the seizure of power by the National Socialists unions and employers' organizations were brought into line . "In addition to the trustee of the work now required no more arbitration, the arbitration boards were abolished.

After the Second World War , a state arbitration procedure was reintroduced with the Control Council Act No. 35 . This was not based on the regulations of the Weimar Republic, but on the procedure of the unification offices of the trade offices of the empire. Nevertheless, a compulsory arbitration was also possible on this legal basis. With the entry into force of the Basic Law , the collective bargaining autonomy became valid law, the possibility of a compulsory arbitration no longer exists.

Compulsory arbitration in New Zealand

In New Zealand , the Conciliation and Arbitration Act of 1894 introduced compulsory arbitration. This was in force until the Employment Contract Act of 1991.


Individual evidence

  1. Isabelle von Brauchitsch: Staatliche Zwangsschlichtung, 1990, ISBN 3-631-42797-2 , p. 266.
  2. Wolfram Desch: Labor Law in Australia: From the System of Centralized Compulsory Arbitration to Enterprise Bargaining, 2005, ISBN 3832915214