The study mainly focuses on the employment practices of both Multinational Corporations (MNCs) and large national competitors in the Germany fast food industry such as Burger King, Pizza Heart, Nordsee, McDonalds and Blockhaus among others. Germany’s industrial relations…
It can be noted that Germany labour systems have been characterised by collective agreements where the workers agree on collective bargaining instead of embarking on industrial action to press for more wages. However, the issue has been to test to see if MNCs and larger national fast food employers would respond to sectoral level bargaining as well as the extent of effectiveness of the German system of statutory employee representation in practice. Thus, the research mainly focused on these two groups of industries in Germany particularly McDonalds which has dominated the Germany food industry for many years and its labour relations practices.
According to the research, the industrial relation in Germany are characterised by collective representation where industrial action is not advocated. Most unions are affiliated to the German Trade Union Federation (DGB) which by far is the largest and most important federation. In 2001 after mergers, there were six unions affiliated to DGB with the most important mergers taking place between service sector unions to form the new service workers union where the union representing the food, catering, drink and tobacco industries did not take part. Collective agreements negotiated at sectoral levels are legally binding but this excludes other companies in Germany. Focus in this case is on the fast food industry in Germany which broadly includes motorway service stations, retail sector restaurants and airport restaurants excluding hotels and other “leisure” sector. McDonalds tops the Germany food service sector in terms of turnover. Management at McDonalds believed that works councils and collective agreements with unions would seriously undermine its system and this attracted criticism. However, the company later capitulated to pressure. However, the 1952/1972 and 1976 Acts do not apply to McDonalds because it has retained US registration in the state of Delaware.
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