Collective agreements and social partnership agreements

Photo: Kzenon – Fotolia

Collective agreements

Effective collective wage agreements are an important aspect of social partnership in Germany as these agreements set out the minimum standards for working conditions and payment terms. The chemical and pharmaceutical industry have a long-standing tradition of a pluralistic wage policy that is characterised by a constructive, trusting cooperation between the social partners. As a professional trade union, the VAA has concluded a collective wage agreement with its social partners. This agreement applies to university graduates with degrees in the natural sciences and technical disciplines.

The only cases in which the collective wage agreement does not apply to employees in executive positions (Leitende Angestellte – LA) are if the terms agreed upon in the individual contracts correspond at least to the conditions of the collective wage agreement in every respect. Particularly distinctive elements include, first and foremost, very long notice periods and claims for compensation that pay well above average in the event of post-contractual non-competition clauses in favour of the employer.

The VAA concludes a collective salary agreement for young professionals with the Federal Association of Employers in Chemistry (Bundesarbeitgeberverband Chemie – BAVC). This is where the amount of the annual salary for the second year of employment is regulated.

Salaries for the first year of employment are agreed on a discretionary basis. The collectively agreed minimum annual salaries for the second year of employment were as follows for 2016:

€ 62,600 for graduate employees and employees with a Master’s degree,

€ 72,975 for employees with a PhD.

For 2017, the collectively agreed minimum annual salaries for the second year of employment are as follows:

€ 64,200 for graduate employees and employees with a Master’s degree,

€ 74,825 for employees with a PhD.

The increase is in line with the general development of rates in collective pay agreements, taking into account the overall term of 24 months.

Social partnership agreements

In these times of globalisation and demographic change, the general climate for managers is changing at an increasingly rapid rate, including for managers in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. The VAA has been concluding social partnership agreements with the Federal Association of Employers in Chemistry (Bundesarbeitgeberverband Chemie – BAVC) since 1992 in order to adapt to the new developments in working life.

Social partnership agreements have also shown themselves to be a successful tool in issues concerning not only the VAA and BAVC, but also the Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union (Industriegewerkschaft Bergbau, Chemie, Energie – IG BCE) as a social partner. In this way, a trilateral agreement has been drawn up to set out the principles defining employment in executive positions in the chemical industry.