The article deals with the widely neglected employment relations in the public sector of Germany with a special focus on civil servants. It is subdivided into two main parts. A shorter part elaborates on public employees and collective bargaining, a longer one on civil servants and their diverging forms of employment relations without the right to collective bargaining and strike. In order to better understand major changes that have taken place since the mid2000s, we chose a long‐term perspective and examine traditional as well as present forms of interest representation. Limited degrees of decentralisation and their lasting diverging consequences are analysed in great detail.