Collective agreements in Germany are legally binding, which is accepted by the public, and this is not a cause for concern.  [Failed verification] While in the United Kingdom there was (and probably still is) an “she and us” attitude in labour relations, the situation is very different in post-war Germany and in some other northern European countries. In Germany, the spirit of cooperation between the social partners is much greater. For more than 50 years, German workers have been represented by law on boards of directors.  Together, management and workers are considered “social partners.”  All of the above agreements address issues such as conditions and termination of employment contracts, working time, minimum wage, leave pay and sick pay, etc. As has already been said, these agreements are often supplemented by local collective agreements. Illegal matters that would be contrary to a law are prohibited, such as closed shops (when an employer hires only members of a union) or illegal discrimination. The Swedish Association of Industrialists is bound by thirteen collective agreements. Seven of them are employment contracts. The Industrial Workers` Union Metall is the opponent in five agreements, Pappers (The Swedish Paper Workers Union), GS (Swedish Union of Forestry Workers, Wood and Graphic Designers) in one and SEKO (Union of Service and Communication Employees) in two. The Swedish Association of Industrialists is also bound by four collective agreements for employees. The counterparties to this agreement are the employee unions Ledarna (the Swedish organisation for managers), Unionen and Sveriges Ingenjurer (Swedish Federation of Graduate Engineers). In addition, the Swedish Association of Industrial Employers` Organisations is bound by a collective agreement that includes both blue-collar and white-collar counterparties that exist in the same agreement with Pappers (The Swedish Paper Workers Union) as a worker`s equivalent.
Under common law, Ford v. A.U.E.F. , , the courts found once that collective agreements were not binding. Second, the Industrial Relations Act, introduced by Robert Carr (Minister of Labour in Edward Heath`s office), provided in 1971 that collective agreements were binding, unless a written contractual clause indicated otherwise. Following the fall of the Heath government, the law was struck down to reflect the tradition of the British labour relations policy of legal abstention from labour disputes. In Finland, collective agreements are of general application. This means that a collective agreement in an industry becomes a general legal minimum for an individual`s employment contract, whether or not he or she is unionized. For this condition to apply, half of the workers in this sector must be unionized and therefore support the agreement. The definition of a collective agreement is contained in the Participation Act, which stipulates that a collective agreement is a written agreement between employers` organizations or an employer, on the one hand, and a workers` organization, on the other, which regulates the conditions of employment or the relationship between the employer and the worker. An agreement is considered written if its contents are recorded in approved minutes or if a proposal for agreement and acceptance are recorded in separate documents.
Oral agreements or agreements that do not concern the relationship between the employer and the workers are not considered a collective agreement. In the United States, the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 made it illegal for every employer to deny trade union rights to a worker. The issue of unionization of government employees in a public sector union was much more controversial until the 1950s.