Corporate committees generally do not negotiate wage increases with employers, although they are involved in negotiations on the implementation of sectoral agreements such as wage structures and working time arrangements. In the past, works councils were considered legally prevented from negotiating primary issues such as remuneration. However, a 1992 court decision found that this decision was not prohibited. Yet there are still few companies that decide on compensation between the employer and the works council, and these are mainly in the ICT and chemical industries, where there is a higher proportion of companies that are anti-union, often in the United States and Japan. Most collective bargaining at the sectoral level involves agreements. In 2013, the 182 agreements relating to sectoral agreements on wages and normal conditions covered 5,341,500 employees. 4,706,500 of them were directly covered, given that employers were members of the employers` organisation that signed the agreements and that 635,000 were covered by the government, which made some agreements mandatory in one branch. (These figures and the following figures are taken from the Ministry of Labour report. Collective agreements cover a wide range of wage issues and conditions, including early retirement, training leave, the organization of a worker`s work-long leave, the place of women, the protection of persons with disabilities and the environment. Increasingly, the agreements provide for a number of benefits from which individual employees can choose. The agreements also deal with procedural issues such as the competence and status of members of works councils or trade union groups in the workplace. During the same period, there were 519 normal collective agreements employing 553,500 people.
Many of the largest companies, such as Philips, DSM or Shell, have enterprise agreements. There is also a tendency for sector-level agreements to become framework agreements, with some of the detailed provisions being negotiated at the enterprise level. The round of negotiations normally begins in November and lasts all year. However, the vast majority of the sites will be renewed between January and April. Agreements have generally lasted a year, but there is a tendency for them to take longer — two years or more.