Regional employers' association in the building industry quits peak associations

On 19 March 1997, the Berlin and Brandenburg regional building industry employers' association decided to leave the industry's two peak associations and its centralised collective bargaining system.

On 19 March 1997, the general meeting of the Fachgemeinschaft Bau Berlin und Brandenburg, the regional industry and employers' association for the building industry in the federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg, decided to quit the Zentralverband des Deutschen Baugewerbes (Central Association of the German Building Trade, ZDB) and the Hauptverband der Deutschen Bauindustrie (Federal Association of the German Building Industry, HDB). In future, the regional association will no longer participate in the highly centralised collective bargaining system of the building industry, which includes central framework agreements (Manteltarifverträge) and national wage agreements (Lohntarifverträge).

The Fachgemeinschaft Bau organises 190 companies in the building industry and 1,200 building trade companies which together cover roughly 25,000 employees. The other regional association of the building industry, the Bauindustrieverband Berlin-Brandenburg, which is still a member of the peak associations, represents 250 member companies and also covers about 25,000 employees.

The main reason for Fachgemeinschaft Bau quitting was the discontent of its members, mainly medium-sized companies, with the collective bargaining policies of the peak associations in recent bargaining rounds. In summer 1996, the Fachgemeinschaft Bau and the HDB terminated the wage agreement as well as agreements on staged wage increases for the building industry. In contrast to the ZDB, the Fachgemeinschaft Bau also terminated the respective agreements regarding the building trade. In future, the Fachgemeinschaft Bau intends to negotiate on its own. It plans to adapt the agreements more to regional circumstances and its member companies' needs. Among its demands are:

  • the introduction of opening clauses for all bargaining issues;
  • the interruption of agreements in force on wage increases;
  • the reduction of wage levels;
  • more working time flexibility; and
  • no negotiations on sick pay before 31 December 1999.

Both peak employers' associations, the HDE and the ZDB, strongly doubt that the Fachgemeinschaft Bau will succeed in achieving better conditions by regional collective bargaining. IG Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt (IG BAU), the building workers' union, criticises the Fachgemeinschaft's decision as threat to the centralised collective bargaining system in the whole building trade.

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