The organization of works councils and the negotiation of collective agreements are regulated by law in Germany. Part of the corresponding regulations is the so-called peace obligation.
Definition / explanation
The peace obligation stipulates that both parties to the collective bargaining agreement, i.e. the employee side (representative union or works council) and the employer side (representative association), are obliged to refrain from fighting measures such as strikes, lockouts, etc. at certain times or at all times.
The scope of the peace obligation can be precisely agreed by the parties to the collective bargaining agreement. The violation of the peace obligation is illegal.
Two levels of peace duty
Relative peace obligation - As soon as a collective agreement is agreed, the relative peace obligation applies, which does not need to be regulated more precisely. It is therefore inherent in every concluded collective agreement.
The relative peace obligation prohibits labor disputes if this is to be directed against provisions of the collective agreement. It is valid as long as the collective agreement and ends when it expires.
Absolute peace obligation - In the collective agreement, an expansion of the peace obligation can be set out, which leads to an absolute peace obligation. With a corresponding agreement, any combat measures, including those not regulated by collective bargaining agreements, must be avoided.
The absolute duty of peace must be specifically agreed in the contract and the scope must be precisely described.