Union members and non-union employees are allowed to be treated differently in the collective bargaining agreement.
This does not violate the german constitution, the federal constitutional court ruled in a decision published today in karlsruhe. This is true at least when there is no coercion or pressure to join a union. Germany's highest judges rejected a constitutional complaint by a non-unionized employee who felt he had been discriminated against by a so-called differentiation clause. Such clauses in collective bargaining agreements stipulate that certain benefits are only available to union members.
In the case in question, the union had negotiated redundancy and severance payments for its members in the social collective agreement. For non-members, the provisions of the employment contract and the social plan applied. The complainant wanted the same benefits as union members. He was initially successful before the labor court. But the regional labor court in munich and the federal labor court rejected his complaint – and rightly so, the constitutional judges have now ruled.