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Fisher, Paul / Works councils in Germany

Development of recent works council legislation,   pp. 3-7 PDF (2.3 MB)

Page 5

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were to have competence over legislation in that field. With
the Basic Law granting concurrent powers in this area, the U.S.
High Commissioner had nevertheless given the Federal Government
some period of time within which to act. After a substantial
period had elapsed since the formation of the Federal Government,
the U.S. High Commissioner felt that he could no longer justifiably
suspend the operation of Land legislation on the subject.
%hile the struggle for federal legislation was still going
on, several additional Laender hastened to replace or to implement
Allied Control Council Law No. 22 by legislation of their own.
(In some Laender where works council legislation had been passed,
the Allied High Commission annulled Law No. 22.) In some instances,
a Social Democratic majority, uncertain of its political future in
the particular Land, wishes to place such a law on the statute
books and on the record. This is probably the explanation for the
law passed in Schleswig-Holstein on May 3, 1950. For a similar
reason, Bremen was reconsidering reenactment and implementation
of those economic codetermination provisions which had been
dropped from earlier legislation.
In other instances, an attempt was made to influence the
fight in Bonn by a "model" law incorporating those features which
the respective sponsors considered desirable. This is the
intention of the SPD majority in Hamburg in preparing a works
council law. On the other hand, a conservative Landtag in
Bavaria succeeded in converting a draft, originally prepared
by the unions but then modified in conference, into a piece of
legislation which would severely restrict the role of the works
council in comparison to that granted under other Land laws. At
the time of this report, the Hamburg, Bremen, and Bavarian bills /
had not been enacted. The Bavarian law, which was passed by the
Landtag in August, was subsequently returned by the Senate with
certain objections to the Landtag which has referred the bill
back to committee.
As for federal legislation, the Parliament has now received
three separate bills, one of which was submitted by the CDU/CSU
fraction of the Bundestag and another, based largely on a DGB
proposal, was introduced by the SPD Bundestag representation. In
September 1950, the Federal Government sent a Cabinet-approved
draft law to the Bundesrat which transmitted the bill, together
with a number of recoimended changes back to the Cabinet. At
last report, the Federal Ministry of Labor had announced its
intention to consult separately with employers' and union
representatives before sending the bill to the Bundestag.
2/ Editorial Note: The Bavarian law was enacted in October 1950.

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