Essays from our quarterly journal of empirical economic research
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In 2016 unit labour costs in German manufacturing continued high, with figures for the comparator countries averaging 12 per cent below the German level. At 6 percent, the Eurozone’s cost advantage over Germany was only half as high.
An analysis of data from the European Social Survey for 16 European countries shows that the degree of trade union organization currently ranges between just under 5 per cent in Hungary and 69.1 percent in Denmark.
Unit labour costs in German manufacturing are still high. In 2015 average unit labour costs in selected countries were 11 per cent below the German level, while the Eurozone, with costs only 4 per cent lower than in Germany, had a more moderate advantage.
In 2001 five trade unions merged to form the United Services Union, commonly referred to by its abbreviated German name: ver.di. Fifteen years after its foundation ver.di’s scorecard is rather mixed. Membership has fallen by 27 per cent and the number of companies bound by collective wage agreements has declined perceptibly in certain bargaining areas.
In 2015 labour costs in western German manufacturing industry were 40.90 euros per employee-hour, putting the region sixth out of a total of 44 countries in the IW labour cost comparison. Its labour costs are almost a quarter higher than the average for highly industrialised nations.
Germany's Competitiveness Erodes
A comparison of Germany with other OECD countries
In 2014 labour costs per full-time employee in manufacturing industry increased in western and eastern Germany by 2.4 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively, making cost dynamics in both parts of the...
A Fresh Wind for Germany’s Trade Unions?
Since the latest economic and financial crisis, Germany has had an expansive wage policy. Whereas between 2000 and 2008 labour costs and productivity were still moving in line, since 2009 labour costs...