: Issue 04/2020

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2020, pp. 223-237

Ralf Dorau

Career entry paths: occupational integration following vocational education and training


A crucial transition in the life course is the passage from education to work. However, this transition has not always been successful for those completing vocational education and training. Almost one third of the career entry paths of cohorts completing vocational education between the years 2006–2008 and surveyed in 2012 are precarious and nearly five percent are decoupled. The factors influencing occupational integration are analysed by means of multi-level analyses. The study reveals greater disparities between eastern and western Germany and a clear influence of school leaving certificates and especially final grades. In addition, female skilled workers are more often in precarious employment and less likely to be integrated into the workforce than male skilled workers. Furthermore, there are differences in individual occupational fields with regard to occupational integration. In addition, with corresponding contextual effects such as female-dominated occupations the chances of successful integration decrease. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2020, pp. 238-46

Philipp Stiemke, Moritz Heẞ

The correlation between education and the voluntariness of retirement-transitions


Public pay-as-you-go pension systems are under financial pressures due to demographic ageing. Thus, several reforms have been implemented which focus on an extension of working life. To this end early retirement options were abolished, statutory retirement ages increased, and active labour market measures implemented. It remains questionable, however, whether all older workers have the necessary resources to retire later and whether they perceive their retirement-transition as voluntary. The study at hand investigates the role of education as a socio-economic determinant for the voluntariness of the retirement-transition. Using data from the German Ageing Survey, it explores this context for two retirement cohorts (1999–2006; 2007–2014). The results show that for men in the younger retirement cohort a statistically significant correlation between education and the voluntariness of the retirement-transition can be identified, however not for women and men in the older retirement cohort. This can be an indication that, for future cohorts, socio-economic factors such as education, will play an increasing role in influencing the voluntariness of the retirement process. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2020, pp. 247-255

Wolfgang Schroeder

Social democracy and trade unions: a special connection


The special connection between social democracy and trade unions results from their common origin in the labour movement. With the end of the classical labour movement, the political relevance of this relationship has also become more difficult and volatile. In this article the thesis is put forward that the increased distance cannot be explained solely by whether the SPD is in the position of opposition or takes a share of governmental responsibility. Rather, this is due to diverging socio-structural interests, a more pluralistic competition between the four social state parties and a growing institutional complexity in the party and trade union arenas. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2020, pp. 256-65

Sonja Mangold

Transnational collective agreements – a building block in a social Europe?


The article presents the main results of a recent study on transnational collective agreements in Europe. It sheds light on achieved negotiation results and their practical implementation, especially in the area of anti-discrimination. The focus is on the question of whether, and under what conditions, the increasingly transnational regulation of social partners achieves a satisfactory regulatory quality and effectiveness. As is shown in detail, transnational collective self-regulation has the potential to achieve adequate results only if it is flanked by stable legal framework conditions. A transnational negotiation practice, adequately flanked by state means and enforcement, could be a crucial instrument towards combating the threat of underbidding competition in Europe. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2020, pp. 266-277

Malte Lübker

WSI European Collective Bargaining Report 2019 / 2020 – Collective Bargaining in Times of COVID-19


The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered the context for collective bargaining in Europe: while wages continued their moderate upward trajectory during 2019 and contributed to domestic demand, the economies of the European Union face an unprecedented contraction in the current year. This presents unfavourable conditions for increases in collectively agreed pay, and has led to a refocussing of collective bargaining agreements on securing employment and incomes. As the WSI European Collective Bargaining Report 2019 /20 argues, such agreements can contribute towards stabilising expectations and hence help avoiding a downward spiral. However, the decentralisation of collective bargaining and the erosion of coverage have undermined the governance capacity of collective bargaining systems in many European countries. Hence, they enter the current crisis with much weaker preconditions for successful crisis management than was the case in 2008 /09. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2020, pp. 278-285

Peter Ellguth, Susanne Kohaut

Collective bargaining and works councils: data on coverage and development from the IAB establishment panel 2019


This article continues the annual reporting on collective bargaining and company level representation of interests with data for 2019. First, the commitment of companies to collective bargaining agreements is presented by sector and company size. 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. Looking at co-determination at the plant level, we also find a distinct downward movement in works council coverage in the long term. However, in east Germany this trend seems to have recently reversed, bringing the two parts of the country closer together.Finally, the joint examination of both levels of interest representation points to extensive gaps in co-determination on the shop floor (betriebliche Vertretungslücken) and also completely blank spots where there is no collective re­presentation at all. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2020, pp. 286-294

Martin Behrens, Heiner Dribbusch

Fighting for Codetermination: Findings from the third WSI Survey on Management Hostility towards Works Councils


This article presents the findings of the third survey on employer resistance to works councils. The survey was carried out amongst local trade union organisations and completed in 2019. It is a follow-up study to two similar surveys amongst local trade union organisations conducted by the WSI in 2012 and 2015. The findings confirm that the establishment of a works council is a contested issue. In particular the obstruction and prevention of the election of works councils by employers is found amongst owner-operated small and medium-sized establishments. The article reflects the existing system of industrial relations in Germany and employer resistance to works councils before presenting the survey and its evidence. It concludes with a brief examination of the possible reasons for why about half of the reporting union organisations were not aware of any employer interference with works council elections while others reported several instances of such activity. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2020, pp. 295-299

Detlef Gerst

Playing an active role in developing operational strategies – a new area of activity for works councils


To date the development of operational strategies is an area of activity that has been neglected by employee representation. And this despite future strategies of the company being dependent on whether works councils can assert competent labour policies. IG Metall’s Transformation Atlas, drawn up in 2019, revealed that a large part of company management had neglected the area of strategy development , to the long-term detriment of company competitiveness and the employees. These findings are a reason for IG Metall to give more support to works councils and to encourage them to engage competently in the processes of strategic development within the company. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2020, pp. 300-303

Hartmut Seifert

Long-term time accounts - Why a smart working time concept has been only moderately successful


The article discusses why long-term time accounts have seen relatively little use to date. For smaller companies in particular, costs for information and the introduction of accounts may likely be a hindrance. Employees are initially dependent on the companies' decision to set up a long-term time account. But even where this is the case, the low level of saving among those receiving lower incomes makes it difficult for them to forego income components over the long term. The article also shows that incentives agreed in collective bargaining, such as the demographic fund in the chemical industry, have led to a more extensive use of long-term accounts. Some considerations on how to increase the use of long-term accounts complete the article. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2020, pp. 304-306

Thomas Kruppe

Continuing to improve the strengthened position of vocational training


With the Qualification Opportunities Act of the National Continuing Education Strategy and other legislative measures, the German federal government has taken steps to promote participation in further training. However, this will not be sufficient to meet the demands of the current and future labour market, and above all to meet individual needs. Rather the objective should be equality of initial and further education, a general legal right to continuing education, legal requirements and financing for periods of study and training or a comprehensive regulation through labour insurance. Nevertheless, many small steps forward are better than none. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 4/2020, pp. 307-310

Matthias Knuth

Vocational training - the rhetoric just goes on and on


The rhetoric about an “offensive” expansion of further vocational training only conceals the lack of possibilities for effective political action. Even the recent offer of generously extended subsidies, has only hesitantly been taken up by employers. Future skill requirements are vaguely associated with “digitalisation”; but there is a lack of any empirically-based knowledge about changing requirements. Potential target groups for catch-up vocational training are being identified solely in the perspective of the employment risks such groups may face, but not from the perspective of their interest or willingness to participate. There is a widespread lack of acknowledgement of the fact that vocational training providers are in a dire state and that the current form of marketised relationships between government and providers are unsuitable for launching any “qualification offensive”. more … (in German)