“Impacts for pay and equality”

Strike in the metals sector

Noos News

Fewer and fewer employees are covered by a collective labor agreement. Such a collective agreement on working conditions has been quite normal for many years. Currently, only 71.8% of employees are covered by the collective labor agreement, whereas in the past this proportion was around 80%. In addition, there are more than one million self-employed people to whom the collective labor agreement does not apply.

The scientific office of the trade union movement acted research (pdf) for development and interest. “The collective labor agreement protects employees, even if they are in a weaker position,” says researcher Reine de Sauvage-Nolting. “Internationally, you see that in countries where collective labor agreements are used more often, there is less wage inequality.”

According to de Sauvage-Nolting, the lower number of employees with a collective labor agreement also leads to more differences in salary between men and women, because men usually get more negotiating. “Men are much better at overestimating themselves,” de Sauvage-Nolting says.

No influence

Startups in particular operate without a collective labor agreement. This is particularly the case in business services, IT and transportation. Hardly any employees in these companies are union members. It is also sometimes not clear what sector this new company falls under, for example a digital platform.

Companies often choose not to join a trade organization and arrange wage agreements themselves, for example by entering into agreements with a works council. It consists of company employees.

“But the works council doesn’t have the power that a union does,” says Reine de Sauvage-Nolting. “There is little room for Labor council members to negotiate and they have no means of pressure, such as taking action.”

Employers and employees will discuss this matter at a seminar this afternoon. There are no ready-made solutions. According to the researchers, the business community should at least try to persuade more companies to join a trade association.

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