German labor unions are generally constructive in their cooperation with employers. Securing
jobs is one of the German labor’s core objectives. Consequently, labor unions have frequently
shown restraint in their wage demands in weak economic times.
Recently, especially during
2012, Germany experienced a considerable rise in the number of strike days, as labor unions
became more insistent that employees should also benefit from Germany’s strong economic
recovery. Nevertheless, employee strikes in Germany are relatively rare and short in comparison
to other industrialized countries. According to the Institute of Economic and Social Research
(WSI), there were strikes on 16 days for each 1000 employees in Germany on a yearly average
between 2005 and 2012, whereas France experienced 150 days, Canada 117 and the United
States 10. Unions’ right to strike and employers’ right to lock out are protected in the German
All workers have the right to strike, except for civil servants (including teachers)
and staff in sensitive or essential positions, such as members of the armed forces.