Collective Bargaining Unity and Fragmentation in Germany: Two Concepts of Trade Unionism?

TitleCollective Bargaining Unity and Fragmentation in Germany: Two Concepts of Trade Unionism?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsBurgess, Pete, and Symon, Graham
JournalEconomic and Industrial Democracy
Volume34
Issue4
Pagination719 - 739
Keywordscollective bargaining, Germany, industrial relations, institutional change, labor legislation, labor unions, trade unionism
Abstract

In recent years established collective bargaining arrangements in some sectors in Germany have been challenged by an upsurge of sectional union activity that has contested the status of industry-level incumbents. Gauging the impact of this development has proved difficult for both observers and insiders, with a range of responses from labour market actors and government. This article explores recent developments and actor responses and locates them in the wider context of the German political economy. It argues that of all these actors trade unions, in particular in organized forms of capitalism, are confronted by strategic dilemmas related to managing the difficult ‘variable geometry’ of mobilization and systemic accommodation.