The proportion of employees with collective wages has been falling for years. On average, more is paid in companies bound by collective bargaining agreements - with shorter working hours. The DGB is demanding effective measures against collective bargaining from the future NRW government.
Düsseldorf (dpa / lnw) - According to a study for the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), in North Rhine-Westphalia 57 percent of all employees are paid according to collective agreements. As a result, collective bargaining coverage has fallen sharply here since the mid-1990s. This emerges from the data presented in Düsseldorf on Tuesday. In 1996, 82 percent of employees in North Rhine-Westphalia were still paid according to collective bargaining agreements.
The future state government must quickly get a collective bargaining loyalty law on the way, demanded DGB head of state Anja Weber in view of the increasing evasion of collective bargaining. In the future, public contracts should only be awarded to companies bound by collective bargaining agreements. A collective bargaining agreement should also be taken more into account when it comes to subsidies.
According to the study, employees in companies without a collective bargaining agreement earn significantly less: across all sectors, company sizes and qualifications, the gap in NRW is almost 18 percent. Adjusted for these differences, employees in non-tariff companies still receive almost eight percent less salary on average. In terms of sectors, collective bargaining coverage in NRW in 2019/20 was highest in public administration (97 percent) and lowest in retail (34 percent).
There are also big differences in working hours, according to the DGB: companies without a collective agreement work an average of 39.4 hours a week, which is one hour longer than in those that are bound by a collective agreement.
As the federal state with the most inhabitants and the largest gross domestic product, NRW in particular has "considerable economic control potential" when it comes to public procurement and regional economic development, stated the author of the study, Thorsten Schulten. However, NRW has "far from exhausted its political leeway in recent years," criticized the politics professor from the Economic and Social Sciences Institute of the Hans Böckler Foundation.
According to his study, almost 9,000 collective agreements are currently valid in NRW. With a collective agreement rate of 57 percent of all employees, NRW is still at the top of the federal states (national average: 51 percent). Measured in terms of collective bargaining coverage for companies, NRW is in third place with 31 percent behind Lower Saxony (36) and Rhineland-Palatinate (34) (national average: 26 percent).
The state chairman of the food, beverages and restaurants trade union, Mohamed Boudih, criticized the fact that school meals, for example, could not be awarded to companies that did not adhere to collective agreements. "This not only promotes wage dumping with millions in taxes, but also strengthens collective bargaining," he said.
Weber also warned: "The lack of collective bargaining will cost the state dearly." Due to collective bargaining and wage dumping in North Rhine-Westphalia, the social security funds lost around two billion euros and the tax authorities around one billion in income tax. "We shouldn't afford to do that any longer."