GHDI logo

German Trade Unions Oppose the Dismantling of the Welfare State (March 5, 1997)

page 3 of 3    print version    return to list previous document      next document

4. Stabilize Publicly Subsidized Employment through Active Labor Market Policy

Publicly subsidized employment remains absolutely essential. It should not degenerate into a second-class sector through the elimination of collective bargaining autonomy and the abolishment of protective provisions guaranteed under labor law.

The instruments of active labor market policy must be developed further.

Such an approach includes, in particular:

- Business-related instruments to prevent impending unemployment and to ensure that structural change within companies assumes a socially responsible form (promoting qualification training through short-time compensation, etc.)
- Greater incentives to earn professional qualifications and pursue continuing education through, for example, the combination of part-time work and qualification training.
- Special programs for the long-term unemployed (especially at the local level) that open up new opportunities through the flexible use of social support measures and in combination with local employment promotion measures.
- Legal entitlement to employment promotion measures for unemployed adolescents.
- The inclusion of welfare benefit recipients in the employment promotion measures of the employment offices, which must be financed through tax revenue.
- Paying special attention to women with respect to qualification training and job creation measures.
- Banning the referral of unemployed persons to jobs that do not comply with wage agreements and effectively fighting illegal employment and illegal temporary work.

[ . . . ]


The Alliance for Jobs has failed on account of the federal government’s unwillingness to take the initiative in employment policy and on account of the confrontational strategy of the leading employers’ associations. Consequently, the unions responded with their campaign for work and social justice. We are building upon that by implementing our action program.

Record unemployment levels show that the policies of the federal government up to now are wrong. The course of its economic and financial policies has led our country into a drastic employment crisis. For this reason, a change in policy is urgently needed.

Hundreds of thousands of people have opposed state-regulated cuts in social services and attacks on collective bargaining autonomy by the government coalition and the leading employers’ associations. Policy that is socially unjust and irresponsible as regards employment does not have the support of the majority in this country.

We want our Campaign for Work and Social Justice to continue. We will modernize and expand the social movement that sent a signal, in Bonn, on June 15, 1996, to protest anti-worker policy and support eco-social reform policy.

We are counting on the mobilization of workers and on social solidarity that must go far beyond the trade unions.

We demand that employers and politicians assume responsibility and fulfill their obligation to create new jobs and social justice. We want to see resolute and, wherever possible, joint and directed actions to overcome the employment crisis and secure the democratic welfare state.

We trust in the persuasiveness of our arguments. We are counting on the generative power of solidaristic action.

The future of our country is decided not only on election days, but also in our everyday business and social lives. It is of utmost importance that the unions continue to be successful in the future in winning people over and mobilizing them for their goals.

We call upon all working people to join the organizing efforts of the unions.

We will do everything in our power to find more alliance partners in the struggle for the basic values of democracy and freedom, solidarity and justice.

We want to fight together for work and social justice.

Source: Confederation of German Trade Unions [Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund or DGB], “Für Arbeit und Soziale Gerechtigkeit” [“For Work and Social Justice”] (March 5, 1997); (retrieved February 25, 2008).

Translation: Allison Brown

first page < previous   |   next > last page