Saturday, December 29, 2007

Union solidarity declines in Germany

A Germany union of train engineers has broken away from the larger union representing all employees in the sector.
GDL, the small but powerful union representing train engineers that has until recently played no role in trade union politics, has paralyzed Germany's passenger and railroad system over several months with a series of strikes.
This is apparently representative of a changing system that will be annoying for employers (who will have to negotiate with multiple unions in the future rather than with one representing their entire workforce) but may be devastating for less skilled workers.
It was a system imbued with a spirit of solidarity and egalitarianism in which the part of the work force that was less well paid and less qualified tended to come out especially well...

Now this economic order is under siege from a second front, said Holger Lengfeld, a sociologist at Hagen University. Lengfeld argues that what Schell and a few other union leaders are trying to do is to break away from the system of collective bargaining in order to forge their own deals for better-qualified employees who they say have been neglected by the big unions.

Via LabourStart.

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