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Fisher, Paul / Works councils in Germany

Union and works council relations under legislation since 1945,   pp. 8-11 PDF (1.7 MB)

Page 8

SINCE 1945
An outstanding feature of the labor scene in 1945 was the
spontaneous reappearance of the works councils. In many instances,
persons who had been ousted from their elected works council
positions after the advent of the Nazi regime resumed their office,
sometimes without the benefit of an election, sometimes with the
active support of the employer. These persons temporarily operated
the business where management had fled, they assisted in the
denazification program, and they helped to reestablish the destroyed
labor organizations. Most of the men who took on these jobs were
pre-1933 trade unionists with moderate views. Others, although also
unionists, belonged to the Communist Party to which they looked for
TIhen, in the ensuing years, the unions finally emerged from
local, Land or zonal, and bizonal stages to a western German Trade
Union Federation, founded in October 1949, they had to find again
a modus vivendi with the works council. By 1949, the works councils
had again become part of the Gerfman labor tradition, celebrated by
their achievements after the end of the war as well as by the
sacrifices of works councillors during the Nazi regime.
This time, however, the unions were in a more favorable position
than they had been when the works councils were originally established
under the Veimar Republic.   The technique of controlling works
councils had not been forgotten, and the problems were not dissimilar
from those encountered in the rast.
Most corks councils in the key inciustries were manned by trade
uni cn men, al though sor.e of their were mialitant meri:ers of the
Cojr.munist Party.  2mrployer influence rerained rather weak until
currency refor!: (June 1048). As in 1918, the State not only refrained
fror. interfering Vitil the uni]-onc, but was actually willint: to  atke
concessions to organized labor.  Furth..rricre, Allied Ccntrcl Council
law .o. 29 provided a basis fcr strengthening the uni-on's irnluefnce
upon works councils irn an unpreceder ted way.
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