Keywords: labour law; individual and collective autonomy; history
The article gives an overview on the origins of this "couple collective- individual" and expresses theses and asks questions about its actual significance and importance. The starting point for Philipp Lotmar and Hugo Sinzheimer, "fathers of modern labour law", is that regarding the balance of power between employer and employee, the latter generally is in a weaker position. For them the workers have only a chance to overcome their relative weakness on the individual contractual level if the collective autonomy of workers' organisations is ensured. This is also the position of the German Constitutional Court. The article refers to the controversial discussion on this point and emphasizes that individual and collective autonomy are not in contrast but competing each other. In this context the "principle of the most favourable standard", the decrease of the binding force of the unions, the relation between collective autonomy and a general minimum wage by law are discussed.