Court rejects IG Metall case against Christian Metalworkers' Union

In December 1998, the federal state Labour Court in Stuttgart, Germany, rejected a case brought by the IG Metall metalworkers' union against the Christian Metalworkers' Union (CGM), in which it demanded that the Court deprive CGM of the right to conclude collective agreements.

On 10 December 1998, the federal state (Land) Labour Court in Stuttgart rejected a case brought to the courts by the IG Metall metalworkers' trade union against the Christian Metalworkers' Union (Christliche Gewerkschaft Metall, CGM), in which IG Metall demanded that CGM be deprived of its status as a trade union and of the right to conclude collective agreements.

Initially, the local Labour Court in Stuttgart had split the case into a material and a procedural part. The Court decided positively on the procedural question, ie as to whether IG Metall was formally allowed to bring forward such an application. The Land Labour Court has now reversed this decision, arguing that a decision of 1972 which recognises CGM as trade union under labour law still applies.

IG Metall claimed that due to a lack of members, CGM should not have been allowed to conclude collective agreements as a trade union with the Saxon metalworking employers' association (Verband der Sächsischen Metall- und Elektro-Industrie, VSME) in Saxony in 1996. However, in the decision the Court did not elaborate on the issue of the 1996 agreement.

CGM is affiliated to the Christian Federation of Trade Unions (Christlicher Gewerkschaftsbund, CGB) and claims to have around 100,000 members, 15,000 of which in eastern Germany. In the metalworking and electrical sector, CGM competes with IG Metall, a member of the German Federation Of Trade Unions (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund, DGB), especially as regards works council elections and collective agreements in crafts enterprises. IG Metall claims to have had 2.7 million members in 1997 (DE9802147F).

Since the 1970s, IG Metall has repeatedly tried to get rid of its small competitor CGM. In May 1998, CGM attracted considerable public attention by concluding the innovative Phönix package deal with the eastern German metalworking employers' association Ostmetall, which is regarded by IG Metall as "employer friendly" (DE9806167F).

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