In Germany, trade unions are only allowed to strike for wage
increases after the expiration of an existing tariff agreement.
Also, their right to strike is limited towards companies, who are a
member of the employers' association that is party to the
expiring tariff agreement. As unions cannot agree on the extension
or an amendment to an expiring tariff agreement with companies that
are not member of the employers' association, which is a party
of such tariff agreement, a strike against these companies, in
context of the expiring tariff agreement, is unlawful. The same
applies, if a company remained in the employers' association,
but changed its status to an extraordinary membership without
commitment to tariff agreements.
The German Federal Court now decided that an
employer may claim for compensation for damages he faced due to a
strike, if the employer informed the trade union about the change
to an extraordinary membership without commitment to tariff
agreements within the employers' association and the trade
union nevertheless called on a strike at the employer's
Written withLydia Bruecklmeier, Associate atNorton Rose LLP, Munich.
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