- Observatory: EurWORK
- Social partners,
- Social dialogue,
- Employee representation,
- Industrial relations,
- Published on: 01 September 2010
The aim of this representativeness study is to identify the respective national and supranational actors (i.e. trade unions and employer organisations) in the field of industrial relations in the inland water transport industry in Germany. In order to determine their relative importance in the sector’s industrial relations, this study will, in particular, focus on their representational quality as well as on their role in collective bargaining.
1. Sectoral properties
The inland water transport sector represents a minor part of the German economy. In 2006, over 7,000 workers liable to social security contributions were employed in the sector. The sector is covered by a collective agreement between the United Services Union (Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft, ver.di) and the Employer Association for the Inland Water Transport sector (Arbeitgeberverband der deutschen Binnenschiffahrt, AdB).
|Number of establishments||
|Aggregate sectoral employment as % of total employment in economy||
|Aggregate sectoral employees as % of total number of employees in economy****||
Notes: * Federal Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt, destatis), preliminary figures from the 2003 and 2006 microcensus.
** Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit, BA), preliminary figures for 2003 and 2006 (reporting date 31 December 2003 and 2006, respectively). Data cover only employees liable to social security contributions.
*** Data refer to the year 2007.
**** Total number of employees amounted to 26,636,631 or 26,746,384 workers liable to social security contributions according to the BA’s preliminary figures (reporting date 31 December 2003 and 2006, respectively).
2. The sector’s trade unions and employer associations
This section includes the following trade unions and employer associations:
1. trade unions which are party to sector-related collective bargaining;
2. trade unions which are a member of the sector-related European federation, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) – Inland Navigation Section;
3. employer organisations which are a party to sector-related collective bargaining;
4. employer organisations or business associations which are a member of the sector-related European business federations, the European Barge Union (Europäische Binnenschiffahrtsunion, EBU) and the European Skippers Organisation (Europäische Schifferorganisation, ESO).
2a Data on the trade unions
United Services Union (Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft, ver.di)
2a.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)
Membership of ver.di is voluntary.
2a.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. blue-collar workers, private-sector workers, water transport employees, etc.)
The trade union has no formal demarcation lines.
2a.3 Number of union members (i.e. the total number of members of the union as a whole)
According to 2006 data, ver.di had 2,274,731 members.
2a.4 Number of union members in the sector
ver.di has 1,900 members in inland water transport sector.
2a.5 Female union members as a percentage of total union membership
Some 49.8% of ver.di’s members are women.
2a.6 Density with regard to the union domain (see 2a.2)
The union’s domain density stands at about 23%.
2a.7 Density of the union with regard to the sector
ver.di’s sectoral domain density amounts to about 10% due to the high rate of self-employed subcontractors in the sector.
2a.8 Does the union conclude collective agreements?
2a.9 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including cross-sectoral associations)
ver.di is a member of ETF.
2b Data on the employer associations
The following three employer organisations are active in Germany’s inland water transport sector:
- German Association for Inland Water Transport (Bundesverband der deutschen Binnenschiffahrt, BdB);
- Employer Association for Inland Water Transport (Arbeitgeberverband der deutschen Binnenschiffahrt, AdB);
- German Association of Self-employed Persons – Department Inland Water Transport (Bundesverband der Selbständigen – Abteilung Binnenschiffahrt e.V., BdS).
2b.1 Type of membership (voluntary vs. compulsory)
Membership of all three employer organisations is voluntary.
2b.2 Formal demarcation of membership domain (e.g. SMEs, small-scale crafts/industry, (inland) water transport enterprises, etc.)
BdB and AdB represent companies of all sizes and crafts in the sector. BdS only represents small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
2b.3 Number of member companies (i.e. the total number of members of the association as a whole)
Membership of the three employer organisations is as follows:
- BdB: about 175 member companies;
- AdB: about 100 member companies;
- BdS: about 150 members;
2b.4 Number of member companies in the sector
2b.5 Number of employees working in member companies (i.e. the total number of the association as a whole)
BdB estimates that about 5,000 employees are working in its member companies, while there is no data available on the number of employees working in AdB and BdS member companies.
2b.6 Number of employees working in member companies in the sector
2b.7 Density of the association in terms of companies with regard to their domain (see 2b.2)
BdB estimates its domain density at about 70% in the inland water freight transport sector and at 50% in the inland water passenger transport sector.
There is no data available for the domain density of AdB and BdS.
2b.8 Density of the association in terms of companies with regard to the sector
2b.9 Density in terms of employees represented with regard to their domain (see 2b.2)
2b.10 Density in terms of employees represented with regard to the sector
2b.11 Does the employer association conclude collective agreements?
AdB concludes collective agreements, while BdS and BdB do not conclude any collective agreements.
2b.12 For each association, list their affiliation to higher-level national, European and international interest associations (including the cross-sectoral associations).
BdB and AdB are members of EBU, and BdS is a member of ESO.
3. Inter-associational relationships
3.1. Trade unions whose domains overlap
No overlap occurs.
3.2. Do rivalries and competition exist among the trade unions, concerning the right to conclude collective agreements and to be consulted in public policy formulation and implementation?
3.3. If yes, are certain trade unions excluded from these rights?
3.4. Same question for employer associations as 3.1.
The domains of BdB, AdB and BdS overlap.
3.5. Same question for employer associations as 3.2.
Rivalries do not exist since BdB and BdS do not any conclude collective agreements.
3.6. Same question for employer associations as 3.3.
4. The system of collective bargaining
4.1. Sector’s rate of collective bargaining coverage (i.e. the ratio of the number of employees covered by any kind of collective agreement to the total number of employees in the sector)
According to trade union estimation, the sector’s collective bargaining coverage stands at about 45%, since about 100% of the ship-owning companies (Reedereien) are covered by collective agreements.
4.2. Relative importance of multi-employer agreements and of single-employer agreements as a percentage of the total number of employees covered
Most employees in the sector are covered by collective agreements.
4.2.1. Is there a practice of extending multi-employer agreements to employers who are not affiliated to the signatory employer associations?
4.2.2. If there is a practice of extending collective agreements, is this practice pervasive or rather limited and exceptional?
4.3. List all sector-related multi-employer wage agreements* valid in 2006 (or most recent data), including for each agreement information on the signatory parties and the purview of the agreement in terms of branches, types of employees and territory covered
* Only wage agreements which are (re)negotiated on a reiterated basis.
|Bargaining parties||Scope of sector-related multi-employer wage agreements|
|Sectoral||Type of employees||Territorial|
Ver.di and AdB
Covers all employees
5. Formulation and implementation of sector-specific public policies
5.1. Are the sector’s employer associations and trade unions usually consulted by the authorities in sector-specific matters?
Verdi, BdB, AdB and BdS are usually consulted by the authorities.
5.2. Do tripartite bodies dealing with sector-specific issues exist?
|Name of body and scope of activity||Bipartite/tripartite||Origin: agreement/statutory||Trade unions having representatives||Employer associations having representatives|
Forum for inland water transport and logistics (Forum für Binnenschiffahrt und Logistik) dealing with sectoral issues. No information available on detailed issues.
BdB and AdB
Notes: * Sector-specific policies specifically target and affect the sector under consideration.
6. Statutory regulations of representativeness
6.1. In the case of the trade unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union must meet, so as to be entitled to conclude collective agreements?
6.2. In the case of the trade unions, do statutory regulations exist which establish criteria of representativeness which a union must meet, so as to be entitled to be consulted in matters of public policy and to participate in tripartite bodies?
6.3. Are elections for a certain representational body (e.g. works councils) established as criteria for trade union representativeness?
6.4. Same question for employer associations as 6.1.
No, there are no statutory regulations defining representativeness criteria. No statutory requirement exists for an association.
6.5. Same question for employer associations as 6.2.
No criteria are defined by law.
6.6. Are elections for a certain representational body established as criteria for the representativeness of employer associations?
Inland water transport has to be considered as a minor economic sector in Germany. Neither any specific jurisdictional nor any recognition problems have been reported in the sector. Despite the presence of several employer organisations – AdB, BDB and BdS – in the sector, only AdB is involved in collective bargaining with ver.di. The other two employer associations – BdB and BdS – represent the interests of their members as trade associations.
Birgit Beese (Institute of Economic and Social Research, WSI) and Sandra Vogel (Cologne Institute for Economic Research, IW Köln)