Fisher, Paul / Works councils in Germany
Non-legal methods of union control of works council activities, pp. 12-16 PDF (2.4 MB)
- 14 - program is serviced with a bi-monthly journal ("Die Aussprache"). In Hesse, the union tried - but failed - to win legislative support for the idea of a paid leave of absence for works councillors who engaged in union training programs. I Despite the efforts of the German labor movement, it was found that neither the training nor special bulletins fulfill all expectations. The information bulletins, which are somewhat dull, were not always read. A perhaps necessarily disappointingly small number of works council members is willing or able to benefit from the educational program. This is perhaps to be expected since many leading works council members are now in their late forties or older, in short, people with whom schooling does not sit well. Not many workers can afford to forego one or two weeks' pay, and many are discouraged by the sometime rather highbrow and not too realistic or practical presentation of subjects which seem to be taken directly from a college catalogue. In any case, there is a great danger that well-meaning union officers may overrate the effect of even the best bulletin or training course. Union-Sponsored Council I'eetings Convocation of works councillors by the union represents another means of inculcating union policy and discipline. Several unions and the federation arrange for local or regional meetings, sometimes as often as once a month, usually at irregular intervals. The degree of participation is generally disappointing but may be substantial when feelings are running high. Another Hesse attempt to charge the expense of attending such meetings to the employer was also defeated by the labor courts. Because of the irregular attendance records - most unions have to be content when at least one representative per plant is present - a few unions have installed a system of frequent works councils visits by headquarters personnel. Other unions found such a system too costly. The miners, who are aided in their policy by the fact that they are confronted almost exclusively by relatively few but large enterprises find, however, a combination of meetings and visits quite effective. Union Stewards A method of control of potentially great importance is the union plant organization. Many unions maintain in addition to their (geographically) local organizations a system of shop stewards in the plants (Betriebs-Vertrauezisleute). Unlike the works council, / Editorial Note: A Hesse law of November 10, 1950 provides for a paid leave of absence, varying from one to four weeks, to permit works councillors to attend union training courses.
As a work of the United States government, this material is in the public domain.| For information on re-use see: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright