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A collective agreement does not fall from the sky

29.04.2021 –Imagine that you do not inherit anything, you do not call any houses your own, you do not hoard any assets and you are not the head of the company. So you have to live on the wages of your work. Imagine if you had to negotiate this wage yourself with your boss. You calculate for him what your work is worth, how he should reward your special qualifications and compensate for the stress of shift work.

Sure, that borders on begging. To prevent this from happening, there are collective agreements. These are negotiated and concluded between employers and trade unions. A written contract, legally secured and actionable. So that the boss doesn't suddenly get the idea of ​​paying less or canceling vacation days. In addition to wages and salaries, the collective agreement also regulates working conditions, such as the duration of working hours or vacation.

More vacation, more vacation pay with a collective agreement ...

Anyone who compares laws with collective agreements will quickly find that the regulations in collective agreements are much better. An example: The Federal Vacation Act provides for 24 vacation days per year, but calculated over the six working days of a week. Take four weeks of vacation. In many collective bargaining areas, however, there are 30 days for employees, namely five days a week, because Saturday - also by collective agreement - is usually free. Take a six week vacation. Or the vacation pay: The extra vacation money is only available in collective agreements. Depending on the industry, employees in middle wage groups receive between 155 and 2,000 euros.

Without a strike, collective bargaining is just collective begging

Getting a little more money every year is by no means the rule. Whether the union succeeds in negotiating a wage increase or better working conditions with the employers' association does not only have to do with negotiating skills, but also with whether enough pressure is exerted. These can be protests and rallies, but the most effective thing is the work stoppage. The strike is the most important means of industrial action in order to increase the pressure on employers so that they give in at the negotiating table. The more employees stop working, the greater the pressure. Without a strike, collective bargaining would degenerate into collective begging, the Federal Labor Court has ruled. The strength of a union depends on the number of its members. The basic formula is simple: the more members are involved, the greater the assertiveness and the better the collective agreement.

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