How we shape the future with codetermination

How we shape the future with codetermination

By Norbert Kluge

(Translation from German)

Official article available HERE 

Climate protection and the pandemic have placed the State and Governments in a strong position. The European Commission has received a mandate from the governments of all EU member states to achieve climate neutrality for Europe by 2050 with the Green Deal, and to successfully lead the economy out of the Covid-19 crisis. A dynamic change of course is necessary. To protect workers during this transformation process, their rights have to be highlighted and enshrined as a special pillar at EU level. For this to happen, we have to play our own active role, and not wait for politics.

Transforming work and the economy for a good future for all: trade unions have long made this their business. They will therefore do everything they can to bring the interests of workers to the top of the political agenda of the parties for the national elections in Germany in September 2021. And they will strive to defend and expand the right to codetermination as a democratic design principle of the social market economy, in Germany and in Europe. Especially also in order to assert our fundamental democratic values against populism and authoritarianism.

Social progress has to be fought for. Members in trade union collective bargaining committees, works councils and supervisory boards are elected by millions of workers to achieve good progress by using their powers and to give life to democracy in the world of work and in company decisions. That is their socio-political mandate.

That is the legacy of codetermination in coal and steel, the 70th anniversary of which we are celebrating this year: equal rights in business decisions as well. No one can outvote the other. The labour relations director on the board ensures that the labour factor has an equal say with the capital factor in day-to-day board decisions. We must firmly commit to a sustainable corporate governance that focuses on investments in resilient industry sites and jobs, within a healthy environment.

EESC member Norbert Kluge is the Executive Director of the Hans Böckler Foundation and founding Director of the Institute for Codetermination and Corporate Governance (I.M.U.).