FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION (RIGHT TO ORGANIZE)

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GERMANY
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FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION (RIGHT TO ORGANIZE)

In guaranteeing general freedom of association in its Article 9(3), the Basic Law guarantees every individual the right to form a collective industrial organization , to participate in the formation of one, to join an existing one, to choose between several in deciding to join one, to remain a member of one and to decide to withdraw from membership of one ("positive" freedom of association). Constitutional protection is also given to "negative" freedom of association , i.e. the right of the individual not to join a collective industrial organization. The Basic Law here protects not only the right of the individual to join with others in forming organizations but also the organizations as such (collective freedom of association). This incudes a guarantee of existence and guarantee of activity .

All agreed arrangements that restrict the individual right to organize are invalid (Basic Law, Article 9(3, subparagraph 2)). Examples of such invalid arrangements are provisions in the individual contract of employment placing the employee under an obligation not to join a trade union, or closed shop clauses whereby an employer undertakes to hire only employees who are union members. The right to organize also gives individual members the right to take an active part in respect of their collective industrial organization. This includes, for example, the right of union members to publicize the union within the establishment.


Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.