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View Diary: VW will not expand in Chattanooga unless labor is represented - updated (165 comments)

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  •  Germany has "co-determination" laws, where (11+ / 0-)

    the workers are legally required to have representation in the management of the company.  That joint council is the "works council".

    •  Interesting, a model we have here & there (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sandy on Signal, claude

      ...but still unusual. As a national law it sure would improve things in the US. Thanks...  

      Codetermination in Germany is a concept with a solid history that involves the right of workers to participate in management of the companies they work for. Known as Mitbestimmung, the modern law on codetermination is found principally in the Mitbestimmungsgesetz of 1976. The law allows workers to elect representatives (usually trade union representatives) for almost half of the supervisory board of directors. The legislation is separate from the main German company law Act for public companies, the Aktiengesetz. It applies to public and private companies, so long as there are over 2000 employees. For companies with 500-2000 employees, one third of the supervisory board must be elected.

      There is also legislation in Germany, known as the Betriebsverfassungsgesetz, whereby workers are entitled to form Works Councils at local shop floor level.

      Goals of codetermination

      Views differ on the goals of codetermination in general. Academic social reformers of a liberal persuasion maintain that workers are not merely factory parts, but citizens with equal rights. The Prussian state aimed for a conciliatory policy between capital and labour, and worker committees were one way to involve and bind workers into a system, and avoid conflict. In return unions conceded objectives on the establishment of a socialist state.

      Codetermination aims principally to give worker a voice in the company decisions. This means matters on organisation of the business, the conditions of work and the management of personal and economic decisions affecting the future of the company and jobs. Workers therefore choose Works council representatives and members of the board to represent them.
      Interests of workers

      On the assumption that the primary goal of employers is to maximise profits in the interests of shareholders, codetermination can reorient the company's goals in the interests of workers. A better balance may be struck so that the company interests are not so one sided. For unions, codetermination is part of democratising the economy. It is also a way for workers to better the terms and conditions of their contracts in an orderly and regulated way.
      Interests of employers

      Much economic discussion mentions the thesis that employers also have an interest in codetermination. It can be an instrument for long term increase in productivity of the company. Some economists dispute this on the basis that the losses in efficiency in production outweigh any gains in productivity.[1]

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