ABSTRACT

Employment relations in Germany have served as something of a role model for stability and orderliness. As Katzenstein put it in his seminal work Policy and Politics in West Germany this stability was the result of several factors: the reformist ideology and practices of unions that are centralized and leave little scope for rank-and-file militants. The German constitution and its interpretation by the Federal Constitutional Court as well as the Federal Labour Court support collective bargaining autonomy through major rulings. The introduction of a statutory minimum wage in 2015 was perceived to be a sea-change in German labour relations as it is helping to stabilize wages at the lower end of the wage scale. Traditionally, employers have played a very prominent role within the German system of employment relations. Due to the special system of industry-wide collective bargaining, employers’ capacity to organize has been crucial in bringing collectively-agreed standards to a majority of German employees.