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Dinosaurier der Dienstleistungsgesellschaft? Der Mitgliederschwund deutscher Gewerkschaften im historischen und internationalen Vergleich


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  • Ebbinghaus, Bernhard


Der Mitgliederschwund sollte die deutschen Gewerkschaften alarmieren: nur noch jeder fünfte Arbeitnehmer der noch nicht im (Vor-)Ruhestand ist, zahlt heute einen Mitgliedschaftsbeitrag, während die anderen als Trittbrettfahrer von der Arbeit der Tarifverbände profitieren, ohne hierzu beizutragen. Die Probleme der Mitgliederwerbung und -bindung deutscher Gewerkschaften werden anhand der Analyse langfristiger sozioökonomischer Entwicklungen, aber auch der rapiden Veränderungen seit der Vereinigung analysiert und im internationalen Vergleich betrachtet. Die langfristige Mitgliederentwicklung kann zum Teil auf veränderte wirtschaftliche und politische Bedingungen zurückgeführt werden. Auch der Wandel zur Dienstleistungsgesellschaft schuf besondere Herausforderungen. Die deutschen Gewerkschaften haben im Vergleich zu nordischen Gewerkschaftsbewegungen jedoch versäumt, die neuen Arbeitnehmergruppen hinreichend zu werben. Der Verlust der neu gewonnenen 4 Millionen Mitglieder im Osten unmittelbar nach der Vereinigung wurde als Sonderfall und nicht als Untergrabung des Modells Deutschland gesehen. Nicht nur der Stellenabbau, auch die Aushöhlung der Mitbestimmungs- und Tarifinstitutionen haben die betriebliche Werbungsarbeit für die Gewerkschaften erschwert. -- The German unions face disturbing membership decline. Only every fifth employee who is not yet retired is willing to pay union dues, while the others free ride as they enjoy the advantages of collective bargaining practices but do not contribute to it. The problems of membership recruitment of German unions are placed in the context of social-economic changes and the rapid decline after unification. In addition, the paper provides a cross-national comparison. The long-term membership development is partly due to the changing economic and political conditions. The shift towards a service economy poses additional challenges. But in comparison to Nordic countries, the German trade unions have failed to recruit the new social groups. Many saw the loss of the four million members in the East short after German unification to be an exceptional case, but few as undermining the German model. Not only the downsizing of firms, but also the erosion of German labour relations - codetermination and collective bargaining - made plant level access and membership recruitment more difficult.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in its series MPIfG Working Paper with number 02/3.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgw:023

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Cited by:
  1. Laszlo Goerke & Markus Pannenberg, 2004. "Norm-Based Trade Union Membership: Evidence for Germany," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 5(4), pages 481-504, November.
  2. Freye, Saskia, 2010. "Germany's new top managers? The corporate elite in flux, 1960 - 2005," MPIfG Discussion Paper 10/10, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  3. Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2003. "Determinants of Trade Union Membership in Western Germany: Evidence from Micro Data, 1980-2000," IZA Discussion Papers 708, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Trampusch, Christine, 2004. "Von Verbänden zu Parteien: Der Elitenwechsel in der Sozialpolitik," MPIfG Discussion Paper 04/3, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  5. Streeck, Wolfgang, 2003. "From state weakness as strength to state weakness as weakness: Welfare corporatism and the private use of the public interest," MPIfG Working Paper 03/2, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  6. Horst Siebert, 2003. "The Failure of the German Labor Market," Kiel Working Papers 1169, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  7. Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2003. "Trade Union Membership in Eastern and Western Germany: Convergence or Divergence?," IZA Discussion Papers 707, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).


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