Project activities in Germany
Download German/Polish pilot final report
Download a summary of the German/Polish pilot project
Statement of the BSLN round table in the German-Polish boarder region (written in German)
Importance of the project for the German partners:
The BSLN project is of great importance to the German partners. The actions of workers’ and employers’ organisations with politicians and governmental bodies are not only an important sign in the midst of economic crises, but also provide the opportunity to strengthen the development of the Baltic Sea Region and to achieve sustainable labour markets.
The German federal states of Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern maintain century old economic interactions with the other Baltic Sea states and have developed cooperation in different areas of life. The importance of issues like migration and free movement has already increased since the eastern expansion of the European Union. With the ending of restrictions on the free movement and migration of workers within the EU in 2011, they will gain more importance.
To meet these challenges, all of the German partners are pooling their resources in order to make a conceptual contribution to the sustainable development of the labour markets in the Baltic Sea Region.
German labour market issues:
The development of the German labour market has been affected by issues such as globalization and demographic changes. Mobility of labour and the shortage of skilled workers, direct consequences of these issues, are a focal point in public debates.
The increase of unemployment rates has enhanced a discussion about the need for more mobility of labour and flexible labour markets. Disparities between east and west are one reason for the national movement of workers, but mobility of labour is also an important issue in the European and national context. On one hand, Germany is still an attractive place for foreign workers, but on the other hand, German enterprises continue to support their staff abroad, ensuring a positive work experience, in order to compete with foreign companies.
The impacts of the changing conditions on the collective labour agreements are discussed by the social partners. Trade unions and employers’ organizations are negotiating the concrete wages and working conditions of workers without the engagement of the state. This tariff autonomy, including the right to freedom of association, is a central pillar of social market economy and is stated in the guidelines of fundamental German law (Art. 9 III GG). Collective agreements by sectors are characterize the German tariff system. The automobile industry, the mechanical engineering sector, and the chemical industry lead the way in producing and exporting goods.
Labour market situation in Germany
The impact of the economic crisis has had a notable effect on the German labour market. In order to avoid the enforced redundancy linked to the economic crisis, the German government currently supports employers appointing workers short-time. About 19.400 companies applied for short-time work in April (Federal Employment Office). To compare the amount of registrations with the same period of year 2008, only 16.400 workers had registered for short – time work. The Federal Employment Office announced an unemployment rate of 8,2% for May 2009 (annual percentage change of 0,4 %).
The unemployment rate in the federal states, involved in the BSLN project (Federal Employment Office for May 2009):
Hamburg: 8,6 % (annual percentage change of 0,4 %)
Schleswig-Holstein: 8,1 % (annual percentage change of 0,2 %)
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: 13,6 % (annual percentage change of -0,9 %)
National action plan summary
The German national action plan is aimed at making a conceptual contribution to the sustainable development of the labour markets in the Baltic Sea Region, in cooperation with employees’ and employers’ organizations. Apart from this main goal, all partners are agreed on the following: to provide assistance on request, as required by the partners in the focus countries; and to support the Lead Partner in matters of content and organization.
In order to realize these goals, the German partners identified four main activities. First, to conduct an analysis of important and useful topics in social and educational politics for employers and employees in the Baltic Sea Region. The purpose of the analysis is to get a better idea of the actual demands in the focus countries. Some topics, which are related to sustainable labour market policies and belong to the defined main working areas, have been identified. The German group will integrate them in upcoming workshops.
The second part of the German national action plan is the realization of, and the participation in, transnational workshops. The first workshop will be held in autumn, 2009. Different participants will be invited to discuss the results of the analysis and reasonable focal points for the upcoming national and transnational cooperation.
The third part is a conference in spring, 2010 in Rostock, Germany. Representatives from German enterprises will present best practice examples and all participants will develop strategies based on the results of the earlier analysis.
The final part is the development of a Pilot project. The idea is to establish a service centre for employees and employers in the regions bordering Poland. Employers as well as employees could be animated to expand their activities to the Baltic Sea Region and supporting them would enhance their performance. The Pilot would be cross linked to the BSLN Forum to benefit from the knowledge pool and to put problems and topics on the agenda.
Number of trade unions:
Two main trade union umbrella organisations exist in Germany, comprised of several unions:
- The Confederation of German Trade Unions (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund DGB)
- The German Civil Service Association (Deutsche Beamtenbund dbb)
Number of employers’ organisations:
The Confederation of German Employers' Associations (Bundesvereinigung der Deutschen Arbeitgeberverbände BDA) and the Umbrella Organization of German Industry (Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie BDI) are the two umbrella organisations involving the majority of employers’ associations in Germany.
The German project partners:
Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund – Bezirk Nord (DGB - Nord)
The Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB) is the umbrella organization of the trade unions and represents the interests of about 6.2 million members. It coordinates the individual unions and campaigns for its member unions. The DGB district Northern Germany represents 460.000 trade union members of the regions Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
DGB Bezirk Nord
NORDMETALL Verband der Metall und Elektroindustrie
The employers` association NORDMETALL Verband der Metall und Elektroindustrie represents the interests of the metal and electronics industry. It serves about 270 metalworking- and electrical engineering companies in the region of Hamburg, Bremen, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and north-west Niedersachsen.
NORDMETALL Verband der Metall und Elektroindustrie
Bildungswerk der Wirtschaft Hamburg e. V. (BWH)
The Education and Training Service for Hamburg Businesses` e. V. (BWH) is an educational establishment borne by the association of enterprises in northern Germany. It is working in the range of social and socio-political questions. The educational offerings of the institute are addressed to important multipliers, such as enterprises, trade associations, training supervisors, human resource employees, and teachers. The BWH offers consulting in different fields.
Bildungswerk der Wirtschaft Hamburg e. V.
The members of the German group are providing diverse expertise:
Corporate Social Responsibility
Equal opportunities for women and men
Work life balance
Human resource management
Cross Cultural Competence
Re-training and education
Safety and health at work
Collective bargaining and negotiation
The German partners offer consulting, as well as the development of pilot projects and knowledge transfers in these fields.
Federal Employment Office:
Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs:
Federal Minister of Economics and Technology:
Federal Statistical Office:
The Confederation of German Employers' Associations: