Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure DE-2017-12/1131 – Updated – measures in Germany
|Country||Germany , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 24 March 2017 – 31 July 2020|
|Type||Bipartite collective agreements|
Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Change of work arrangements (working time, rota schemes)
|Author||Birgit Kraemer (Hans Boeckler Foundation) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||15 September 2020 (updated 24 February 2021)|
German Rail (Deutsche Bahn, DB) is severely affected by the society-wide practice of social distancing that the German government encourage in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For DB, the pandemic means a decline in passenger transport due to a decline in tourism, to work from home and lockdowns. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the competing trade unions EVG and GdL jointly concluded an agreement with Deutsche Bahn for mitigating the pandemics impact. The agreement is not a collective agreement in the narrow sense but a social partner arrangement that provides guidelines for employment protection, flexible working and safe working conditions in a single group. The agreement covers all workers of Deutsche Bahn; the provision on special funding in case of child care only covers workers working in establishments covered by the collective agreement 'social security' (TV Soziale Sicherheit).
The employer, Deutsche Bahn, guaranteed not to use direct dismissals as a crisis-mitigation measure. The guarantee was valid until the end of July 2020. Employers and the sector trade union EVG agreed a new collective agreement in September 2020.
Employees in standard employment
Parents in employment
Sector specific set of companies
||Does not apply to citizens|
Social partners jointly
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Role||Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative||No involvement|
|Form||Not applicable||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
All relevant employer organisations and all relevant trade unions were involved in reaching the agreement. The DB group is organised in an employer organisation (AGVMove) which settles collective agreements with two competing trade unions: The Railroad and Transport workers union EVG, an affiliate of the German Confederation of Trade Unions DGB, and with the trade unions of engine drivers, the GDL, an affiliate of the second-largest trade union federation, the Civil Servants Union dbb.
All social partners involved were supportive of the measure.
|Economic area||Sector (NACE level 2)|
|H - Transportation And Storage||H49 Land transport and transport via pipelines|
This case is not occupation-specific.
Eurofound (2020), COVID-19 agreement covering workers employed by German Rail (DB) Deutsche Bahn (and collective bargaining), measure DE-2017-12/1131 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/DE-2017-12_1131.html
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