Comparative View of State Towards Worker’s Participation in Decision Making

Vishruti Nandel

Worker’s Participation in
• • • • • • • Germany France U.K. Italy U.S.A. Yugoslavia U.S.S.R.

in turn.Co-Determination (Germany) • Gives equal rights to employees representatives in all matters concerning the undertaking • Implicit sharing of power philosophy • Co-determination Act 1951 – Applies to all undertakings employing >1000 workers in • Coal mining • Iron and steel industries • Industrial undertakings in Germany are governed by – Supervisory boards which. appoint Managing Boards .

15 or 21 members 11 members 5 – elected by shareholders 5 .• Supervisory Boards – Usually consist of 11.representatives of employees 11th member is elected by shareholders after being proposed by Supervisory board 2: employees working in undertaking 2: appointed by unions operating in the undertaking 1: appointed by the union from outside the union and outside the undertaking .

• Managing Boards – Appointed by Supervisory boards – Must include a labour director • Appointed by supervisory boards ( approval of majority of members representing employees) .

1952 – Industries other than coal mining and iron and steel – One third of members of supervisory boards – In joint stock companies – In companies employing >500 workers • Elected by secret ballot by workers employed in undertaking concerned – Among workers representatives at least 2 must be employed in the undertaking .• Works Constitution Act.

– Works Councils • All units employing ≥5 workers • Operates at plant level : close to workers • Consist only of workers’ representatives ( elected every 3 years) • Have right to seek information provided trade secrets are not endangered • Co-determination rights in matters like – Hours of work – Vocational training – Administration of welfare services – Fixation of job and piece rates – Conduct and behaviour of employees • Discuss following issues with management but ultimate authority rests with management – Re-grouping or transfer of employees – Recruitment – Retrenchment – Dismissal etc. .

appointed a committee in 1968 • To look into past experience and suggest bases for further thinking – Report • Agreed to principal of extension of worker participation in decision making but not in form of full co-determination • Favour of Supervisory Boards – 12 members » 6: represent shareholders » 4: elected by workers » These 10 co-opting for 2 more members • Not in favour of Managing Boards . In response to insistent demands of German trade unions for extension of full codetermination to all industries – Govt.• • Studies have shown most employees concerned had limited perception of co-determination.

• Syndicalism: extreme doctrine of workers self government • After WWII: Production Ecommittees or Management Committees set up – Took over running factories which had been abandoned by owners • Since 1946.France: Works Committees • Trade unions : weaker and divided • Initiatives towards greater worker participation have come from Govt. works committees exist in most public undertakings . all undertakings employing ≥50 workers are required by law to set up Works Committees – Although public sector is exempted.

of workers employed in undertaking) • • • Number of elected members may be increased by mutual agreement Elections are held every 2 years If. number of voters is less than half of total number of eligible voters. a second election is held – Anyone may stand for election irrespective of trade union support Trade union – Sponsor candidates for election – Send observer to meetings of works committees Works Committees – Consultative bodies excepting welfare activities which are administered under their supervision • Canteens • Libraries • Medical and safety services • Housing societies etc. in an election.Chairman of Works Committee ( Head of Undertaking) 3-11 selected members (acc. to no. • • .

– – – – Have right to receive information Be consulted on economic matters concerning undertaking In joint stock companies: right to send 2 representatives to attend meetings of BOD Issues related to terms and conditions of employment and individual or collecitve grievance are excluded from their purview • Assessment – Disappointment is a dominant feeling – activities in social field have given positive results • Developed a sense of responsibility and readiness among staff – Results in economic field are generally failures – In majority of cases Works Committees have been a formality .

: Joint Consultation • U.U.K. has relied on varying degrees to advance worker participation on – Joint Consultation – Collective Bargaining Joint Consultation – Traced back to Whitley Commission of 1916 – Recommended establishment of • Joint industrial councils in well organized industries • Works committees representatives of the management and workers in individual establishments – Joint Committes at • Plant level • District level • Regional level • National level • .K.

• • Arrangements for consultation are flexible and vary from industry to industry Joint committees consist of – Representatives • Management – Appointed by chief executive • Employees – Appointed by secret ballot – Engineering and Iron and Steel Industries » Chosen from shop stewards – Coal mining » Nominated by National Union of Mineworkers – Number of representatives from both sides are not always equal – No. of management representatives is often less – Primary objective : promote Co-operation – Advisory in character .

• Joint Consultation has not succeeded to the extent expected – Joint committees are bypassed in favour of direct talks with trade union leaders – Indifferent and suspicious attitudes of both employers and trade unions to joint consultative bodies Employees Shareholding and Profit sharing schemes – John Lewis Partnership : successful for 5 decades – Number of firms adopting such schemes are small Collective Bargaining – Much stronger and older institution in Britain – Plant level bargaining has become more prominent in recent past • • .

ITALY: Commissions (Management Committees) • Like German works councils but without the strength of unified trade union • Elected by both organized and unorganized workers on basis of competitive union slates • In theory they possess important consultative functions – Rarely exercised • In 1950’s management frequently manipulated these bodies as spurious bargaining agents so that they could refuse recognition to union organizations in plants .

Joint decision making has tended to be at national level rather than plant level .BENELUX Countries • Unions are strong • Netherlands – Made Works council obligatory in all plants employing over 100 workers • Belgium – Belgium General Confederation of Labour. January 1971 – Made decisions to increase employees control • In both countries.

U. : Collective Bargaining • • • Collective bargaining is seen as a road to industrial democracy Workers acting through the union can influence terms and conditions of employment and other matters A typical trade union is associated with – Grievance procedures – Settlement of disputes through arbitration Continuous Bargaining – Creation of joint union. meat-packing.S.management bodies to study and report complex issues – Fast pace of negotiation during collective bargaining does not permit a through examination of all important problems – Joint study groups examine such matters and recommend mutually acceptable solutions – Already exist in steel. glass and electrical equipment industries Profit sharing schemes have evolved Scanlon Plan – Help management in solving problems – Reward: share in savings effected • • • .A. automobile.

number of members varied from 15-120 – Major function : consider and approve general policies of the undertaking and plans for future development – Council : elect and supervise its own executive body • Board of Management – 3-11 members – Entrusted with supervision over day to day administration • Director of undertaking – Objective: give workers final authority over all matters relating to undertaking – Councils are free to take decisions without party interference in most matters – Limitation : councils had little funds – The expectation when workers management was introduced was that this scheme would lead to democratic.Yugoslavia: Self-Management • Law of 1950 – Works council should be constituted in every firm – If total number of employees in a firm <30. . equalitarian distribution of influence which workers and works councils would have greatest influence while line and staff were viewed merely as executive organs subordinate to workers themselves. Just opposite seems to have occurred. all of them together made up the council – In larger firms.

U.R.: Workers as Partners in Management • Realistic management device intended to achieve double objectives of – Uninterrupted production and continuously increasing productivity – Industrial democracy • Production will not be allowed to suffer – To humour the fanciful demands of trade unions – Management will not be allowed to dictate whatever they like to • Industrial relations have evolved as a realistic system in light of needs of the nation and development of the economy .S.S.

• Trade unions got greater share in the administration after WWII – Statues of 1958 & 1971 • Principal economic task of nation – Not merely production – Increase effectiveness of social production • E.g. planning of plants & construction projects – Jointly by management and trade union • Standing Production Conferences – Function under the guidance of trade unions – Make recommendations on all questions of organisation of work and production .

• All matters of major importance for the operation of enterprise are decided only with participation of trade union Profits – A part goes to state – Rest remains with enterprise – Development fund – Incentive fund for industrial and office workers – Fund for social and cultural advancement • Dispensed by management and trade union committee jointly Trade unions – Have right to conclude collective agreements (embodied in Labour Code) – Right to request progress reports – File report against managers who fail to fulfill their duties Results of fulfillment of collective bargaining are periodically reviewd jointly • • • .

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