The Rise of Experimentalism in German Collective Bargaining
Article first published online: 16 JAN 2004
British Journal of Industrial Relations
Volume 42, Issue 1, pages 95–123, March 2004
How to Cite
Behrens, M. and Jacoby, W. (2004), The Rise of Experimentalism in German Collective Bargaining. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 42: 95–123. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8543.2004.00306.x
- Issue published online: 16 JAN 2004
- Article first published online: 16 JAN 2004
- Final version accepted 15 October 2003.
This paper addresses the debate on union strategies by analysing industrial relations change in three of Germany's most internationalized sectors: chemicals, metalworking and construction. It characterizes two logics of change in German industrial relations: a battlefield logic and an experimentalist logic. It demonstrates historical trends towards centralization of wage bargaining in each sector before looking at recent pressures for decentralization and flexibility. In chemi-cals, the social partners control decentralization. In metalworking increasing flexibility is characterized by a mismatch between the national-level union and the district-level employers. Finally, the construction union seeks to replace the centralized bargaining system with a state minimum wage.