: Issue 04/2019

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2019, pp. 247-259

Sabine Klinger, Enzo Weber

Germany – a country of multiple jobholders


Since 2003, the number and ratio of multiple jobholders has more than doubled, even though the German labour market has been experiencing a strong and sustained upswing. This study analyses multiple jobholding from a time-series as well as a cross-section perspective. We use rich register data and logit estimations. The microeconometric findings are linked to macroeconomic trends. Workers hold multiple jobs primarily because of factors affecting earnings or hours in the main job. Towards the upper end of the earnings distribution, there is no renewed increase in the probability of taking on a secondary job and we do not find evidence that another job enriches the job portfolio as such. Moreover, female workers, migrants, workers in west Germany as well as in service sectors display a higher than average probability of multiple jobholding. However, the individual factors only partly explain the rise of multiple jobholding in the examined time frame. Hence, we argue that the far-reaching exemption of second marginal jobs from social security contributions and taxes sets the wrong incentives. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2019, pp. 260-269

Thomas Haipeter

Transnational articulation of workers’ interests in the global works council of VW


Transnational representation of workers’ interests has to cope with two challenges: to identify common interests and to organise the interplay between the local, national and transnational levels of interest representation. Both challenges form the respective practice of articulation developed by transnational interest representations. The practice of articulation has different dimensions such as interpretations, normative expectations or power. It is to be regarded as a conflictual social process, and it will be able to fix interests only partially and temporarily. At VW the transnational articulation of interests is, on the one hand, backed up by the organisational and institutional power of the German interest representatives and the transfer of national power resources to support transnational action. On the other hand, coordination is framed by the Charter of Labour Relations and the supporting role of the general secretariat of the global works council. The practice of articulation depends on interpretations of the actors, based on the common goal of safeguarding of locations and employment as well as working conditions. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2019, pp. 260-269

Stephan Meise

Employees with migration background: Milieu-specific approaches to interest representation


Employees with migration background are not composed of mainly ‘ethnically’ determined, homogeneous groups. Among immigrants, different social milieus have emerged, along with diverse and unequal access to institutions of collective interest representation, in particular to trade unions. The article explores this previously insufficiently researched correlation, using the example of ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe and Germans of Turkish origin both living in three different regions in Lower Saxony. The perspective of the milieu-specific structure of socio-political representation proposed here not only enables an overcoming of generalising and thus ultimately ethnicising views of immigrants. Furthermore, it will be possible to identify and reflect on different needs of interest groups and specific access problems depending on the social milieu. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2019, pp. 278-289

Malte Lübker

WSI European Collective Bargaining Report 2018 /2019: Higher wage settlements support growth in Europe


Within the European Union nominal wages grew by 2.8 per cent in 2018, a considerably higher rate of growth than in prior years and wage growth is set to continue almost unabated in the current year. In the eurozone, wages received a boost from a 2.0 per cent increase in negotiated wage rates last year, the largest gain in five years. Despite above-average increases in most eastern European countries, large differences in pay levels persist across Europe ; annual compensation of employees ranges from € 9,100 (Bulgaria) to € 70,000 (Luxembourg). Despite a weaker economic outlook, further wage growth remains imperative as it strengthens domestic demand. It is also an important precondition for higher inflation expectations and hence a normalisation of the ECB’s monetary policy. However, collective bargaining first and foremost serves social and distributional objectives. Strengthening Europe’s collective bargaining institutions could be an important contribution towards addressing the concerns regarding social injustice that are voiced by citizens across the EU. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2019, pp. 290-297

Peter Ellguth / Susanne Kohaut

Collective bargaining and works councils: data on coverage and development from the IAB establishment panel 2018


This article continues the annual reporting of the IAB in WSI-Mitteilungen on collective bargaining and company level representation of interests with data for 2018. First, the commitment of the companies to collective bargaining agreements is presented by sector, company size and federal state. Thereby the still persisting differences between west and east Germany are taken into account. Since 1996, collective bargaining coverage in both parts of the country has shown a clear downward trend, even though the recent development has been less clear. These results are complemented by information on works councils and alternative forms of company employee representation. In the long run a distinct downward movement is also apparent for works council coverage. However, in 2018 this trend seems to have been broken. The various forms of employee representation not legitimised by law are characterised primarily by their low stability. Finally, the joint examination of both levels of interest representation points to the extensive gaps of co-determination on the shop floor (betriebliche Vertretungslücken) and also completely blank spots with no collective agreement at all. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2019, pp. 298-304

Heiner Heiland

Platform work in focus. Results of an exploratory online survey on platform-based courier work


For the first time, this article presents data on platform-based food courier work, which represents a new form of precarious and digital work. On the basis of an online survey, the social structure of workers and their working conditions are presented and set in relation to the DGB Index “Gute Arbeit”. The platforms exercise extensive control over the work process. As a result, couriers feel at the mercy of technology, report mediocre job satisfaction at best and very little identification with their work. But despite the high turnover of employees, which can also be considered as an individual exit strategy, there is a surprisingly high willingness to protest and strike among the “riders”. As it turns out, despite the individualised work, the workers are in constant communication with each other. Contrary to general and trade union assumptions, there is certainly an organising potential that, strategically speaking, can correct the asymmetry of power in platform work to the benefit of the employed. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2019, pp. 305-308

Hartmut Seifert

Options as a new principle of working time policy


The article describes and discusses new collective bargaining agreements that offer employees the choice of either increasing income or reducing working hours. It can be shown that these agreements on optional working time enrich flexible working time forms with innovative elements in two ways. First, they provide employees with guaranteed rights to reduce and extend the length of working hours according to their individual wishes. Second, they expand the scope for time autonomy. It is proposed to transfer the principle of optional timing also to atypical working hours during the night or at the weekend and to introduce the option of choosing between money supplements and corresponding reductions in working hours. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2019, pp. 309-312

Werner Feldes

Knowledge management in employee representation. A factor for success with potential for development


The high degree of utilisation of knowledge in companies and the generation change in the co-determination committees cause employee representation bodies to deal with their own knowledge management. Their ability to benefit from their internal knowledge in a structured manner is becoming a key success factor. Works councils should therefore promote networking amongst their members and experts and align their organisation and qualification processes with the transfer of knowledge. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2019, pp. 313-314

Bernd Raffelhüschen

The ‘Respect Pension’ does not deserve respect - it benefits the rich


The ‘Respect Pension’ proposed by employment minister Hubertus Heil violates the three most important principles of the welfare state. The first violation is that it does not reflect the life-performance principle of the statutory pension insurance (GVR). Each individual who has been in employment for 35 years receives the minimum pension, whether earned through the contributions or not. The second violation is to the fundamental principle of equality within the last safety net of the welfare state. The old age poor are placed in a better position than all other poor. Age alone is no merit, and if the basic social security provision is raised, then the principle of equality must be a provision for all individuals. The third violation caused by the ‘Respect Pension’ to our constitutional welfare state is to be found in the lack of means-testing. Approximately four out of five potential beneficiaries are not poor, rather they receive not only payments according to the statutory pension insurance but also receive other steady income or have considerable assets. Finally, the imbalance of the fiscal burden between the younger and older generations is exacerbated. more... (in German) 

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2019, pp. 315-317

Judith Kerschbaumer

Providing a basic state pension without means testing is an acknowledgement of a life’s work


Today, individuals who have worked for decades in full-time employment in the low-wage sector, must fear receiving a state pension which is below the basic provision and is insufficient to live on. The decision of the Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Hubertus Heil, to upgrade low pensions within the pension insurance system to a basic state pension, without means-testing, for those having had 35 years of employment, childcare or nursing care, acknowledges lifelong achievement and is socio-politically correct, and long overdue. The basic state pension will not eradicate old-age poverty but is a significant contribution to improving income after a lifetime of employment for those with below-average pensions. For these individuals, Heil’s proposal, in addition to the basic pension provision, to provide improved housing benefit is an answer to the widespread problem of unaffordable housing. more... (in German)