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: Issue 02/2024

WSI-Mitteilungen 2/2024, pp. 79-88

Sandra Jaworeck, Markus Hertwig, Carsten Wirth

Insourcing in the Manufacturing Sector: Distribution, Motives and the Role of Digitalisation


In this article, the significance of insourcing in the manufacturing sector and its subsectors is examined based on a quantitative representative management survey and case studies. The underlying motives for, and forms of, insourcing processes are also analysed. The findings reveal that insourcing is a relevant phenomenon, occurring relatively more frequently in market-oriented than in network-based business relationships. The former business partners providing insourcing are primarily located onsite (at the company’s own premises), in the region, or within Germany, and less frequently abroad. Core areas of manufacturing companies, such as production or research and development, are particularly affected. As expected, insourcing is a management decision. In cases where a company has a works council, it is involved in the decision-making process in approximately one-third of the cases. Surprisingly, respondents indicate that the primary goal of insourcing is to increase flexibility. According to management statements, ecological sustainability is of only moderate importance. Data shows that digitalisation is likely to increase the dynamics of restructuring. The findings provide insights for both management and representation of interests regarding reflection on the depth of value chains. Works councils should become more aware of the possibilities and limitations of insourcing through consultation and trade union training programs. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 2/2024, pp. 89-97

Hendrik Brunsen, Agnes Fessler, Yannick Kalff, Hajo Holst

Working in Bio-economic Production Processes. A Qualitative Analysis of Work and Employment in Agriculture, Chemistry and Pharmacy


The aim of transformation to a bio-economy is to counteract the effects of anthropogenic climate change. For companies, this implies a change in the material basis of production. This article utilises a qualitative research approach to examine the consequences of production processes in the bio-economy for workers who have so far received only marginal attention. In case studies from agriculture, chemistry and pharmacy and including interviews with experts, three key challenges of bio-economic production are identified that have a direct impact on working conditions: standardisation limits due to the ‘living’ production base, a comparatively weak market position and a high shortage of (skilled) labour. For workers, these challenges demand high levels of knowledge, flexibility and labour intensity, including a perpetuation and even expansion of atypical employment relationships – not only for academics. The findings show that apprenticeships, and also atypical and low-skilled work are components of the bio-economy that to date are widely underestimated. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 2/2024, pp. 98-106

Thomas Lühr, Tobias Kämpf

AI and the Transformation of White-collar Work. On the “Blind Spot” of the Current Automation Debate


This article analyses the transformation of white-collar work against the backdrop of digital transformation. The starting point is a surge in automation that is characterised by expanded possibilities in the use of artificial intelligence (AI). On the basis of empirical findings, the trends in qualitative changes in work are analysed, both from the user perspective in typical fields of office work and from the perspective of highly qualified developers and implementers of new AI solutions. Overall, a structural change in white-collar work has been observed, which not only harbours the risk of job losses, but also the potential for upgrading and upskilling and is also manifested in the consciousness of employees. From a labour policy perspective, there are approaches which open up the way towards a forward strategy in terms of a sustainable restructuring of employment. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 2/2024, pp. 107-119

Malte Lübker, Thorsten Schulten

Minimum Wage Report 2024: Real Gains through the Implementation of the European Minimum Wage Directive


This year’s WSI Minimum Wage Report chronicles the development of minimum wages as of January 1, 2024. It is based on data from 38 countries in Europe and elsewhere. Within the European Union, the median increase of minimum wages was 9.5 % in nominal terms compared to the previous year, and there was also a median increase of 2.5 % in price-adjusted terms. In 14 out of the 22 EU countries included in the report, minimum wages rose by at least 1 % in real terms, and by 5 % or more in seven of them. The report attributes this in part to the influence of the EU Minimum Wage Directive. One exception to this is Germany, where the increase to € 12.41, as recommended by the Minimum Wage Commission, was insufficient to compensate for losses in purchasing power. In order to achieve the target of 60 % of the median wage set out in the directive, a minimum wage of just over € 14 would have been necessary in Germany for 2024. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 2/2024, pp. 120-130

Thorsten Schulten, WSI-Tarifarchiv

Collective Bargaining in Germany 2023: Offensive Wage Policy in the Light of Persistently High Inflation Rates


The current annual collective bargaining report of the WSI Collective Agreement Archive contains a comprehensive analysis of the 2023 bargaining round and gives an overview of the demands and results as well as a calculation of the annual wage increases. In 2023 collectively agreed wages grew on average 5.5 % in nominal terms. With an inflation rate of 5.9 %, the purchasing power of employees covered by collective agreements was almost secured in 2023. At the same time, there is still considerable pent-up demand in view of the loss of purchasing power in the previous years 2021 and 2022. In view of falling inflation rates, the trade unions are once again calling for more significant real wage increases for the 2024 round of collective bargaining. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 2/2024, pp. 131-136

Stefan Bär, Veronica E. Steinweg, Dominik Dauner

Improved Vocational Training Conditions in Nursing?. Impact of the Nursing Profession Act (Pflegeberufegesetz) on Practice Guidance in Hospitals


Against the background of the Nursing Professions Act introduced in 2020, the article examines the current situation of practice guidance in hospitals. Qualitative interviews were conducted in an intensive care unit of a German maximum care provider and its affiliated nursing school. Analysis of these interviews indicates that changes at the regulatory level do not necessarily result in changes at the organisational level of hospitals. Hence, the legally prescribed proportion of practice guidance cannot regularly be met on site, so that the quality of vocational training suffers and its success depends on individuals and their willingness to participate. It seems that the new Nursing Professions Act is not accompanied by a structural strengthening of practice guidance. However, this would be urgently necessary in addressing the legally formulated central role of practice guidance against the backdrop of the shortage of skilled workers. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 2/2024, pp. 137-142

Katrin Mohr

Continuing Vocational Training in Practice. Results of Case Studies in the Organisational Area of IG Metall


Further training is a key to successful transformation. However, beyond isolated best-practice studies and insights from trade union work, there is a lack of systematic studies of company-based further training and its conditions for success. IG Metall has therefore taken a closer look at further training initiatives in 15 companies within its organisational area and asked works council members about the character, beneficial conditions and successes of the further training, but also about hurdles and obstacles. The article presents the results of these case studies and formulates recommendations for trade union support of company-based further education. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 2/2024, pp. 143-148

Jürgen Klippert

Advanced Systems Engineering: Transformation in the Development Departments?


Digital transformation is associated with a change in value creation in which revenue is increasingly being generated through data-driven business models. This must be taken into account in product development and requires new ways of working in engineering. A current discourse is therefore propagating even greater agilisation and interdisciplinary systems engineering for development activities. The article examines the question of which of the new working methods advocated in the discourse are already being implemented in practice and to what extent the working conditions of highly qualified employees in development departments are changing as a result. To this end, IG Metall conducted qualitative empirical group interviews with works councils. These confirmed the findings of labour research, according to which agility is rarely implemented consistently. The results also show that interdisciplinary systems engineering is still not widespread. In many cases there is a lack of support for change from employers. Trade unions should further sensitise works councils to the topic and continue to monitor developments. more … (in German)

WSI-Mitteilungen 2/2024, pp. 149-151

Robert Scholz

Board-level Employee Representation Strengthens a Democratic and Sustainable Economy and Society


Board-level employee representation in Germany ensures that the interests of employees are considered when decisions are made at top management level. The employee representatives on the supervisory board share the responsibility for monitoring and advising the management board. However, corporate co-determination is currently facing major challenges because it is increasingly being circumvented or not applied, for example through changes in legal form or holding structures. It is therefore all the more important that the current coalition agreement stipulates that the Co-Determination Act should be amended. Based on research findings into the co-determination index (MB-ix), the article explains why this special form of democracy in the workplace is so important. Corporate co-determination promotes fundamental social values such as justice, innovation, training, gender equality, stability, sustainability and, last but not least, the profitability of companies. Co-determination strengthens democracy in the company and in society as a whole. more … (in German)


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