Collective bargaining policy is a core element of the social market economy.

The collective bargaining partners negotiate working conditions together in collective agreements - without government influence. The responsible cooperation of the collective bargaining partners is a decisive pillar of our country's economic success. In order to secure this success for the future, collective agreements must be continually adapted to changing economic conditions.
Collective agreements shape the world of work
The , in particular the sectoral or area collective agreement, has a decisive influence on industrial relations in Germany. For most employers, collective bargaining with a trade union, whether on their own or as a member of an employers' association, is the preferred form of shaping working conditions. Since companies that are not bound by collective agreements are also guided by them, collective agreements form the basis for more than three quarters of employment relationships in this country. In total, there are over 78,000 valid collective agreements and around 6,000 new collective agreements are agreed each year (source: BMAS, 2019).
Modernisation course in collective bargaining policy secures adaptability and jobs
The BDA advocates that the sectoral collective agreement should retain its regulatory function in shaping working conditions in the future, while at the same time ensuring that companies have the necessary room for manoeuvre. In the recent past, moderate collective wage agreements and agreements for more flexibility in companies have already set in motion a course of modernisation in collective bargaining policy. This course should be consistently pursued with the aim of reducing overregulation and strengthening the scope for action at company level. Collective bargaining conditions must once again be minimum conditions in the economic sense. In order to give companies and employees sufficient freedom, collective agreements should therefore primarily be framework regulations. By constantly adapting the sectoral collective agreement to changes in company practice, decision-making powers can be shifted from the collective to the company level by means of "controlled decentralisation". The way to this is paved by opening clauses in collective agreements which allow deviations from the minimum level of the collective agreement at company level. In addition, a modular system with various modules instead of an entire collective bargaining package can be a solution approach, especially for small companies. Companies that are deterred by the complexity of an entire collective agreement should, for example, be able to opt for the pay framework from a collective agreement without having to adopt complex regulations on from this collective agreement at the same time.
The role of the BDA in collective bargaining policy - collective bargaining policy is a key focus of work
Collective bargaining policy is at the heart of the BDA's work as a leading organisation - even if it does not conclude any collective agreements itself. For its 48 sectoral and 14 regional member associations and their members, the BDA is, among other things, the platform for cross-sectoral exchange and coordination of the basic principles of collective bargaining policy as well as a service provider for all collective bargaining policy issues.


The BDA-TarifService offers member associations and the BDA network a comprehensive range of information on the topics of collective bargaining, collective agreements and minimum working conditions.

The BDA Collective Bargaining Service collects and evaluates, among other things, collective bargaining agreements and background information on the current collective bargaining rounds and on general collective bargaining activities. This supports the BDA's member associations in particular during their collective bargaining negotiations with data material on collective bargaining policy.

A collective bargaining archive and a collective bargaining database in the employer portal are available for research purposes. The "BDA-Tarifinformationen" (BDA Collective Bargaining Information), a circular from the Collective Bargaining Service, provides information on the key data of current collective bargaining agreements. Central overviews of collective bargaining policy are published on an ongoing basis in the "BDA Collective Bargaining Handbook".

TariffService Tariff analyses | Tariff database | Tariff archive Wage and Tariff Policy Department

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Facts and figures

The basis for responsible cooperation between the collective bargaining partners is collective bargaining autonomy.
The more than 78,000 collective agreements registered in the collective bargaining register of the Federal Ministry of Labour in 2018 include the following types of collective agreements:

Source: Federal Ministry of Labour, as of 31 December 2018

17. May 2024

Tariff policy