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Germany: Industrial relations

Updating author: Nils-Frederik Wiehmann and Hannah-Maria Kampherm, Osborne Clarke, Germany

Original author: Karen Ullmann

See the legal services provided by the updating author of International > Germany, including any discounts/offers for subscribers.


  • The German constitution guarantees the right to form and join trade unions and protects their activities. (See Trade unions)
  • Around half the workforce in Germany is covered by collective bargaining agreements, which are subject to specific legal provisions, and collective bargaining takes place mainly at the sector/industry level. (See Collective bargaining agreements)
  • To be lawful, a strike must be organised by a trade union and must follow a secret ballot conducted according to democratic principles. (See Strikes and picketing)
  • Employers may use a lock-out as a reaction to a strike by employees. (See Lock-outs)