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The Ahlen Program of the CDU (February 1947)

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III. Redefining the relationship between employer and employee in the workplace

In companies whose size precludes a personal relationship between the employee and the employer, the employees’ right to codetermination [Mitbestimmungsrecht] in fundamental questions of economic planning and social organization must be assured. Initially, this must be achieved by granting company employees due representation on the company’s advisory bodies, such as the supervisory board. To this end, it will be necessary to reform corporate law. In particular, the supervisory board should be given a stronger position vis-à-vis the management.

In large companies with multi-person executive boards, employees who have served the company for many years should be granted participation in the management of the company through appointment to the board of directors. This appointment will be based on the recommendations of workforce members, who must present the supervisory board with at least three candidates.

The chairman of the works council, who is elected by the workforce, must be given the opportunity to participate in all decisions that concern the social interests of employees. Furthermore, and in any case, company management must give monthly reports to the works council on the state of the company, and members of the works council must be granted the right to learn details at these meetings.

Suitable measures must be taken to ensure that employees share in company profits. The plans may vary and will be regulated by special agreements.

IV. Planning and guidance of the economy

will be necessary on a large scale for a long period of time; but there is a difference between whether planning and guidance is carried out with a view toward economic difficulties, whether it is considered necessary on a case-to-case basis, or whether it is seen as an end in itself. Even in normal times, the planning and guidance of the economy is necessary to some extent. This view follows from our belief that the economy must serve the basic needs of the people.

The tasks of planning and guidance should be carried out by autonomous bodies within the economy in the form of economic chambers. Of secondary importance is whether these economic chambers will be identical to the chambers of industry and commerce. In any case, it is necessary that the broad masses of employees and consumers participate as equals alongside entrepreneurs in carrying out planning and guidance within these autonomous bodies. The final decisions made by these bodies must be subject to parliamentary control.

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