WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2022

: Issue 06/2022

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2022, pp. 427-436

Toralf Pusch, Hartmut Seifert

Short-time Work during the Corona Pandemic – What Employees Use the Additional Available Time for


Short-time work has been prevalent during the Coronavirus pandemic. It can be considered as a radical and involuntary working time reduction, often with uncertain and partly interrupted duration. Therefore, reductions are not the result of individual choices. On the basis of the Employment Survey carried out by the Hans Böckler Foundation this article shows for what purposes short-time workers used the time elements gained during the Corona pandemic. Previous studies have focused only on individual types of time use, such as care work or further training. In contrast, the Hans Böckler Foundation’s survey of the labour force data allow to look at a broader spectrum of time use and to identify patterns of time use. The empirical analyses show that the increased time available due to short-time work was mainly used for household activities, family, media consumption and childcare. On the other hand, the number of short-time workers who reduced their time commitment in hobbies/sports and political activities outweighs those with increased time commitment. This pattern is somewhat more pronounced for women compared to men, but men have also increased their time use in the domestic/family sphere. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2022, pp. 437-447

Steffen Niehoff, Hajo Holst

Codetermination, Pandemic and Social Class. How Employees Evaluate the Actions Taken by their Works or Staff Councils during the Pandemic


Based on the 3rd and 4th survey rounds of the Workplace Monitor „Arbeiten in der Corona-Krise“ (Working in the Corona Crisis), the article examines how employees experience the handling of the pandemic by their works and staff councils. Overall, the majority of employees are satisfied with the activities undertaken by their works and staff councils during the pandemic. They experience that the works and staff councils listen to their concerns and represent their interests including concerns about the pandemic. At the same time, however, the experience of codetermination also shows clear class inequalities (Oesch): Qualified service workers, routine service workers and routine manual workers are the classes that rate the responsiveness and representativeness of the works and staff councils significantly lower and are less satisfied with their workplace representatives, who are also more strongly affected by the negative consequences of the pandemic. The results are not only of scientific interest, but also of relevance for codetermination practice, since the participation deficits in the codetermination arena seem to reinforce the class inequalities as reflected in the health risks and economic burdens of the pandemic. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2022, pp. 448-456

Christoph Sorg, Carolina Alves Vestena, Christian Scheper, Sabrina Zajak

Worker Voice Tools without Worker Voice? On the Digital Governance of Labour Rights in Global Value Chains


This article examines the use of digital worker voice tools in global value networks (GVN) and discusses its consequences for workers in the global South. First, the authors give a general empirical overview of the rapidly growing field of digital tools of communication and participation. In doing so they rely on data gathered via a quantifying analysis of tool websites and semi-structured interviews with tool providers, companies and unions. In the subsequent analysis it is shown that tools differ significantly in their structure, aim and use. One of the pivotal differences exists between profit-oriented and non-profit tools, which originated in distinct contexts. These different contexts in turn influence whether these tools offer any potential for the mobilisation, organisation and participation of workers. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2022, pp. 457-464

Heiner Heiland

The Ombuds Office for Crowdworking. Development, Processes and Effects


This article is the first to empirically examine the Ombuds Office for Crowdworking. It is a parity-based board for conflict management which is a unique form of voluntary regulation of platform-mediated labour. As a new form of work, platform labour is largely unregulated, and in this field, trade union strategies and workplace co-determination run afoul. Based on interviews with the actors involved, the article analyses the development, processes and effects of the Ombuds Office. It is shown that it is effective in resolving conflicts between crowdworkers and platforms, independent of national borders. Beyond dealing with the actual conflicts, the Ombuds Office proves to be a context for a social dialogue that creates cohesion among the participants. However, its scope is very limited and due to its self-obligatory character, it has no sanctioning power. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2022, pp. 465-473

Dorothee Spannagel, Aline Zucco

WSI Distribution Report 2022: Poverty Causes Exclusion


In Germany, the proportion of the population living in poverty has risen significantly in the past decade. Income poverty – as this year’s report on distribution based on SOEP data clearly shows – is far more than just a lack of financial resources. Those who are poor in Germany, for example, also acquire fewer educational skills, have a higher risk of morbidity, or live in smaller living spaces. These inferior living conditions of the poor population are also accompanied by lower levels of life satisfaction. At the same time – as the HBS living situation survey suggests – a low level of trust in political actors can be particularly observed in this group. The report makes clear that poverty not only means less social participation for those affected, but if the needs of the poor population are structurally neglected, it also undermines trust in the democratic institutions and consequently poses a threat to the democratic social system. Fighting income poverty is, thus, also an urgent necessity for society as a whole, with the primary aim of promoting equal opportunities and full social participation for the poor. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2022, pp. 474-478

Mariella Falkenhain, Andreas Hirseland

Sustainable Labour Market Integration and More Social Inclusion Due to the New Citizens’ Allowance?


Since its introduction 17 years ago, Germany’s basic income support scheme known as Hartz IV has been accompanied by a normative discussion about the right balance between its core principles of enabling (Fördern) and demanding (Fordern). The new federal government plans to renew the basic security system with the introduction of the so-called citizens’ allowance. This article discusses the reform project outlined in the coalition agreement in the light of central findings from the fields of international labour market and social policy research. The article initially examines the planned shift in focus from work-first to a stronger orientation towards sustainable labour market integration via the path of qualification. Following a discussion on the envisaged reorientation of the counselling processes in German job centres, the authors reflect upon possible ways and prerequisites of advancing the social inclusion of benefit ­recipients. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2022, pp. 479-486

Lutz Bellmann, Corinna König, Ute Leber

In-company Further Training During the Covid-19-Crisis. Recent Empirical Evidence Provided by a High-frequency Survey


The upward trend in-company further training was interrupted by the Great Recession of 2008 / 09 but subsequently recovered. During the Covid-19-Pandemic, however, training measures carried out by companies were hit even harder. The examination of the IAB-Establishment Panel 2020 in this article reveals that the provision of further training decreased by 20 percentage points in comparison to the previous year and reached only 35 percent, the lowest level for more than 20 years. Also, no recovery is registered for in-company further training activities in the year 2021. Additional insights are offered by the high-frequency IAB-survey “Establishments during the Covid-19-crisis”. This survey provides information about the incidence of further training, reasons for cancelling training measures and the development of e-learning. The multivariate analyses demonstrate that in-company training activities during the current crisis are affected by industry affiliation, firm size, the institutional framework of further training and how hard the establishment has been hit by the crisis. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 6/2022 pp. 487-489

Stephan Schulmeister

Inflation in the Age of Finance Capital


The current level of inflation is the result of today’s prevailing form of capitalism. While the pursuit of profit up to the 1970s focused on the creation of goods ("real capitalism"), since the 1980s valuation differences of existing assets have become the most important source of profit, especially of financial assets, raw materials and real estate assets ("finance capitalism"). The drive to generate valuation gains spilled over from assets (asset inflation) to goods markets (flow inflation). Regardless of whether one looks at the "fossil fuel rentiers" (OPEC plus non-OPEC), the commodity trading houses, the oil companies, electricity producers, retail chains or real estate owners, price increases for largely indispensable goods are causing profits to surge. The breeding ground for this is uncertainty in a multi-dimensional crisis. more … (in German)