The constitution and enabling legislation protect the right to collective bargaining, and
agreements are governed by law.
The coverage of collective agreements has been declining for
decades. Collective bargaining agreements in 2012 covered approximately 58% of all
employees, 60% of the labor force in the western part of the country and approximately 48 % in
the East. Many industry-wide collective bargaining agreements have been revised in recent
years, not only to include highly flexible working time arrangements, but also to introduce
escape clauses for ailing companies, and to lower entrance pay scales and performance-based
The collective bargaining agreements are valid for 23 months on average.