Until today, Hilger was a staunch opponent of the recognition of the unions as the official representative of the working class. At the same consultation, he said: „Gentlemen. I stand before you today as Paul, who turned away from Saul. Today, we will not move forward without negotiations with the unions. Yes, gentlemen, let us be glad that the trade unions are always ready to negotiate with us as they have done, because only by negotiating with the trade unions in particular, in agreement with the trade unions, can we prevent anarchy, Bolshevism, Spartac domination and chaos, whatever its name. (quoted from ibid.) Negotiations proved complicated and no significant progress was made until early December 2018 due to the complexity of union demands. Following an abrupt halt to negotiations and a symbolic strike by the TOE in mid-December, DB and TOE reached an agreement on a new collective agreement on January 4, 2019.  The agreement has a duration of 29 months and includes an overall wage increase of 6.1% in two phases: 1 July 2019 (3.5%) and 1 July 2020 (2.6%) under an option plan. The options plan allows employees to choose one of three options: in November 2018, employers` and trade union organisations celebrated the centenary of the Stinnes-Legien agreement. This agreement laid the foundations for German collective autonomy and for the social partners to independently negotiate working conditions, wages and working time. Ingo Kramer, President of the Bundesverband der Deutschen Arbeitgebervereinigung (BDA), stressed the importance of responsible cooperation between the social partners and their independence from state intervention for Germany`s economic success: „Such a partnership […] was a stroke of luck for our country and is unique in Europe.  Reiner Hoffmann, President of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), stressed the importance of greater tariff coverage in order to continue the socio-political success of collective bargaining in the era of globalisation and digitalisation.  The reduction in tariff coverage has given rise to a political and scientific debate on the future of the German tariff system and how best to deal with this reduction, including through state intervention.
The DGB requests, for example, the abolition of the so-called affiliation to the OT to employers` organisations (i.e. affiliation which does not bind the employer to the sectoral collective agreement of his organisation). The Confederation of Trade Unions also proposes to use extension mechanisms more frequently. .