Industry-wide Collective Bargaining: Shrinking Core, Expanding Fringes

Wolfgang Streeck

in Re-Forming Capitalism

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199573981
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191702136 | DOI:
Industry-wide Collective Bargaining: Shrinking Core, Expanding Fringes

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In Germany wages are typically negotiated by industry on a regional level instead of on a national level. Regional wage variation, however, is likely to be low because of the high centralization of national unions, at least this was the case until unification occurred. Since sectoral unions tended to follow an agreement negotiated by a wage leader, which is usually the metalworkers' union, there also occurs an intersectoral coordination of wage bargaining. Collectively bargaining of industrial agreements that covered workers and workplaces used to be high and almost universal. The observance of such agreements extended into the small-firm sector of the economy and these were enforced by work councils or a quasi-statutory system of workplace representatives who were elected. Generally, the ‘German model’ points out how centralization can generate low wage dispersion for a large country.

Keywords: collective bargaining; centralization; unions; unification; intersectoral coordination; German model

Chapter.  3008 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Political Economy

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