4 case studies show the benefit of sectoral collective bargaining

UNI Europa publishes four case studies from three countries that demonstrate the advantages of sectoral collective bargaining.

4 case studies show the benefit of sectoral collective bargaining

In the context of the Level Up project co-financed by the European Commission, UNI Europa has put together four case studies on (multi-employer) collective bargaining, or sectoral collective bargaining. These examples demonstrate the advantages of such systems of industrial relations for workers and trade unions, companies and society as a whole. You can download the full case studies below.

  • Case study 1: In December 2022, just months after the European Union declared the strengthening of collective bargaining to be one of its policy aims, Romania passed a new law that did just that: enabling and facilitating not only collective bargaining but also trade union organising and social dialogue. This law did not appear out of thin air but against a background of years of trade union innovation in social dialogue, critique from international organisations, and economic pressure from the EU. 
  • Case study 2: While EU member states are warming up to upgrade their social dialogue systems, at the other side of the globe things are moving fast. New Zealand (re-)introduced sectoral collective bargaining. The so-called ‘fair pay agreement legislation’ aimed to stop social dumping and negative wage competition. In too many sectors, competition focused on reducing costs rather than on doing things better. If the EU is serious about safe-guarding the European social model, it should get moving too.
  • Case study 3: In 2022, 700,000 workers in Germany’s industrial cleaning sector received pay rises of between 12.5 and 16.4 per cent, negotiated by IG BAU outside the normal bargaining rounds at a time when inflation soared, staff shortages were rife and the German government just significantly increased the minimum wage. UNI Europa spoke to Zeynep Bicici, IG BAU head of department and president of UNI Europa Property Services, about her organising work in the commercial cleaning sector and the 2022 campaign.
  • Case study 4: Liberalisation, staff shortages and fierce competition have led to a serious deterioration in working conditions in the ground handling sector in Germany. Ver.di’s analysis was clear: the solution was a sectoral collective agreement that would set a floor for working conditions at all airports across Germany. To achieve this, they devised a long-term strategy from 2014, focusing first on strengthening company agreements. This alone led to pay rises of up to 26 per cent in 2022.

Learn more about the up- and downsides of sectoral collective bargaining for workers, trade unions, companies and citizens through our interactive Level up platform.

Meetings & Events







UNI Europa workshop and conference on Collective Bargaining and the Minimum Wage Directive

UNI Europa hosts a conference on the upcoming National Action Plans regarding collective bargaining within the framework of the EU Minimum Wage Directive.



1st Workshop – Project: Monitoring and furthering the autonomous implementation of the European framework agreement on occupational health and safety in the hairdressing sector



Commerce/Tourism EWC Network Meeting


timing: 9:30 to 12:00