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Trade union responses to precarious employment in Germany


  • Bispinck, Reinhard
  • Schulten, Thorsten


Since the mid-1980s Germany saw a continuing increase of precarious employment which now amounts to about one third of the total labour force. Considering the negative social side-effects of this development, the voices which call for a re-regulation of the labour market have become more prominent in recent years. The study analyses strategic responses of German trade unions to the increase of precarious employment. Hereby, it distinguishes between four different approaches: First, unions can demand and lobby for changes in legislation in order to limit, prevent or even forbid certain forms of precarious employment. Secondly, the unions can conclude collective agreements to improve the conditions of precarious employment and to limit its use at sectoral or company level. Thirdly, union can develop practical help and assistance to precarious workers and recruit them as union members. Finally, the unions can promote their own vision of good work as a counter model against precarious employment.After a general overview on the different union strategies the study presents details in four case-studies of how the unions act in the following areas: - low wages - temporary agency work - dependent self-employed workers - apprentices - The study is part of a European project Bargaining for Social Rights (BARSORI) which is financed by the European Commission (Agreement Ref. VS/2010/0811).

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  • Bispinck, Reinhard & Schulten, Thorsten, 2011. "Trade union responses to precarious employment in Germany," WSI Working Papers 178, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wsidps:178

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Ziegelmeyer, 2010. "Das Altersvorsorge-Verhalten von Selbständigen - eine Analyse auf Basis der SAVE-Daten," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 130(2), pages 195-240.
    2. Sebastian Dullien & Christiane von Hardenberg, 2009. "Deregulierung in der öffentlichen Debatte in Deutschland," IMK Studies 02-2009, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tangian, Andranik S., 2015. "Is the left-right alignment of parties outdated?," WSI Working Papers 198, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
    2. Bispinck, Reinhard & Schulten, Thorsten, 2014. "Wages, collective bargaining and economic development in Germany: Towards a more expansive and solidaristic development?," WSI Working Papers 191, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
    3. Thomas Haipeter, 2016. "The interests of white-collar workers and their representation in the German manufacturing sector: new initiatives, opportunity structures, framing and resources," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 304-321, July.

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