Dr Werner Altmeyer & Bernhard Stelzl (with support of Ralf-Peter Hayen, DGB-Germany) Roma, 3rd July 2007 Information and Consultation Rights within the Industrial Relations in Germany
The main question can be split up in two major components. Research Questions 1. The state of transpo-sition of the Directive 2002/14 in Germany, 2. The state of information and consultation rights of workers and their representatives in Germany
Background: Industrial Relations in Germany Actors and System Recent Developments and Framework Instruments for Information and Consultation at company level Conclusion and Prospects Steps to Answer
The union density is about 25 % with around 8 million workers unionized The major trade union confederation is the DGB which has 6 affiliated unions (6,6 Millions affiliated). The largest unions are Ver.di (public and private sector workers), IG Metall (Metalworkers Union), and IG BCE (chemical industry focussed) Sharp divide between East and West Germany and big corporations and SME! Last years development concerning industrial action is in transition Background: Actors and System of German Industrial Relations
employee representation is organised around two bodies: one being a trade union body and the other one being elected. These bodies make up the two poles of employee representation, the trade union negotiates within regions and branches, whereas the elected representative body is informed and consulted at company level. Elected representatives are employees (unionised or not unionised) Dualistic System of Representation
Belegschaftsvertretung - Workplace representation Gewerkschaften Trade unions Betriebsrat Works council Betriebsrat + Gewerkschaften Works council + trade unions
Co-Determination or collective bargaining? works council co-determination works agreement trade union free collective bargaining collective agreement negotiations → agreement legally binding? If negotiations fail: peace obligation?
collective bargaining is still a monopol of the unions Only unions do have the right for industrial action Almost every employee benefits from collective bargaining agreements regardless of union affiliation Usually a union representative is a member of the supervisory board of the enterprise Trade unions in Germany
Germany No amendment to national law BECAUSE 5 employees are sufficient to found – Betriebsrat / Works Council – Works Constitution Act 1952 In Germany, §§ 80 Abs. 2, 90 Abs. 2 Satz 1, 106 Abs. 2, 111 Abs. 1 BetrVG foresee that the information should take place at due time and in a comprehensive manner In the year 2001 reform took place, to reach more SME. State of transposition – or why not?
Industrial action because of restructuring is allowed (Federal Labour Court 2007) Opting out increases – Companies are leaving Employers Associations to escape collective agreements and single works councils undermine collective agreements: Concession bargaining grows Recent Developments
There are two distinct levels of co-determination: at establishment level via the works council and at enterprise level on the supervisory board of companies. We focus on works councils Information and consultation rights at Company Level
As soon as a company has five or more employees, the employees have the right to found a works council. The works council must be informed about personnel planning (hiring and firing), technical and organizational changes. In these areas, the works council also has consultation rights. In some cases the works council even has the right to object to certain actions (eg personnel disputes) The main fields of responsibility are work time (length, time of day, breaks, vacation etc.), and work environment. Works councils rights and subjects
Works councils at factory, national and European level, have boosted considerably the workers’ participation in Germany and the European Union. Workers Participation • workers’ participation guarantees access to crucial information for the collective bargaining process as well as the possibility for company focussed negotiations and actions. • Works Councils do have almost no access to small companies – less than ten employees, the reform of Works Constitution Act couldn’t improve this situation.
Power of trade unions and works councils in Germany is higher than in many EU-Countries EU-Directive 2002/14 was not transposed, because of existing legal framework due to political issues and restructuring, unions and works councils are facing difficulties Part of Employers tries to divide Works Councils and Unions Future of Works Councils as Negotiator remains open, because they are lacking the right to strike Summary
EU Directive might be an impulse to enlarge works council rights and workers position during restructuring German law meets EU-Standards – real situation is different Building Bridges: The influence of the EU on industrial relations – a brief outlook
Thank you! To be continued...