Germany: Under reconstruction
As the German economy slides into recession, the business community is demanding radical reforms to labour law to make their position more tenable in a tough market. However, they will have to get the changes past the country's formidable trade unions. Gerhard Roder reports
On 14 March, the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, announced detailed plans to reform German labour law. The extensively discussed proposals are described by the employers’ representatives as “a first step in the right direction”, but definitely only a first step. In contrast, the unions view the proposals as the destruction of the German social security system and strongly oppose them. Taking aside the polemicised debate, the key question posed by the planned reforms for employers is whether the proposals of the Government will improve their position under the law.
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