British-German Trade Union Forum

 

The British-German Trade Union Forum is an annual conference series which alternates between Germany and Britain. It brings together each year about 30 participants - drawn equally from the two countries, and comprising a mix of trade union officers and policy specialists and representatives of the wider policy community – for a day and a half of intensive discussion and exchange on issues of common concern. It is supported by the Anglo-German Foundation, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Hans Boeckler Foundation, and has benefited from the close involvement of the Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund and the Trades Union Congress.

 

Conferences to date have addressed the following themes:

2009

Green Jobs in Germany and the UK

Conference report

8th British-German Trade Union Forum in Frankfurt/Oder

 

Date: 2-3 July 2009

 

The rapid growth of renewable energy sources in Germany shows that this changeover does not only make sense in ecological terms; with the right political management, the economy and the labour market can also benefit hugely from this ‘Green New Deal’. A programme of ecological modernisation will create millions of new jobs. The German and British trade unions have long recognised the potential of ‘green jobs’ - every reason therefore to make this the theme of the 8th German-British Trade Union Forum.

 

This year’s German–British trade union forum showed how differently the environmental industry has evolved in Germany and the United Kingdom. Prof. Martin Jänicke presented figures on the current situation in Germany; more than 1.8 million people work in this area, and around 8% of German GDP is now generated here. There is particularly strong growth in the field of renewable energies, which already provide work for over 300,000 people. Forecasts suggest that the number of people employed in the
environmental industry could double by 2020.

 

October 2009

 

  • For a free download of the conference report (English version 139 KB) please click here
  • For a free download of the conference report (German version 159 KB) please click here 
2008

Financialisation and the Rise of Private Equity and Hedge Funds

7th British-German Trade Union Forum at Manchester University

 

Date: 16-17 July 2008

 

This year’s German–British trade union forum addressed the emerging challenges posed by new financial actors, such as private equity and hedge funds. Key topics included company ownership structure, public disclosure requirements and the labour force strategies necessary at a time of dramatic developments in national and international capital markets.

 

November 2008

 

  • For an English Executive Summary (84 KB) please click here
  • For a free download of the complete report (English version 453 KB) please click here
2007

 

Work-Life Balance  

6th British-German Trades Union Forum

 

The 'work–life balance’'is a term describing a new sphere of activity in the realm of
representation of interests at the workplace. In July 2007 the British–German Trade Union Forum discussed the diverse trade union activities at the interface of 'good work' and 'good life' for two days in Hamburg. After focusing on the topics of minimum wages and industrial relations in previous years, this sixth forum centred on the question of how employees can better balance their jobs and their private lives.

 

October 2007

 

  • For an English Executive Summary (81 KB) please click here
  • For a German Executive Summary (82 KB) please click here  
  • For a free download of the complete report (English version 180 KB) please click here
  • For a free download of the complete report (German version 182 KB) click here
2006

 

Making Bad Jobs Better Jobs
The low paid sector in Germany and the UK

 

Transforming bad jobs into better jobs is a huge challenge – and a huge opportunity – for trade unions in Germany and the UK. It represents an opportunity to find ways of advancing the specific interests of particular groups among their members. These include the low-paid, those doing less interesting jobs with poorer career prospects, women, and migrant workers: all groups that many unions have marginalised (if not ignored) in the past. In July 2006 some 30 British and German trade unionists – from leaders and senior policymakers to workplace organisers – academics and commentators met at the Trades Union Forum in London to discuss these issues. 

 

The discussions of the bilateral conference in London are summarized in a conference report. 

 

  • For a free download of the conference report (109 KB) please click here
2005

 

Towards a Europeanisation of Industrial Relations

 

European Union legislation is starting to make a significant impact on industrial relations, and in particular on the crucial three-way relationship between management, employees and trade unions. The establishment of European Works Councils and the creation of information and consultation rights have provided new channels for employees to make their voices heard and to influence decisions about the future direction of their company. In July 2005 some 40 British and German trade unionists – from leaders and senior policymakers to workplace organisers – met in Berlin to discuss these questions, which are central to the future health of trade unions in both countries. Two days of lively and intensive debate focused on how trade unions should respond to these opportunities, especially created by the new information and consultation laws.

 

The discussions of the bilateral conference in Berlin are summarized in this conference report. 

 

  • For a free download of the conference report (121 KB) please click here
2004

 

New Members, New Structures 

 

Some 30 German and British union activists – from leaders and senior policy-makers to workplace organisers – plus policy-makers, researchers and academics took part in the Trade Union Forum 2004. The debate and discussion focused on understanding why unions in both Germany and the UK are facing a potential membership and organisational crisis and how they are developing innovative policy and activity to meet this challenge.

 

The discussions of the bilateral conference in London are summarized in a conference report. 

 

  • For a free download of the conference report (150 KB) please click here
2003

 

Tomorrow's Welfare State

 

The second British–German Trade Union Forum - organised jointly by the Anglo-German Foundation and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation - brought together some 41 representatives of German and British trade unions to discuss the nature and scope of ‘tomorrow's welfare state'. The meeting was timely, as consensual assumptions that have governed social policy for many decades in both the UK and Germany are being vigorously challenged. The most influential and most powerful impetus for change is coming from the heart of the two centre-left governments that is asking fundamental questions about the nature and funding of the welfare state. 

 

The discussions of the bilateral conference in Berlin are summarized in a conference report.  

 

  • For free download of the complete report (100 KB) please click here
2002

 

Flexicurity
Employability and security in a flexible global labour market

 

The balance between security and flexibility is a crucial element of future employment policy and a key challenge for Europe's workers and employers. This was the main conclusion of the first-ever German-British trades union forum, organised jointly by the Anglo-German Foundation and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. The meeting brought together for the first time over thirty representatives of the trade union movement in Germany and Britain and of leading think-tanks in both countries.

 

The discussions and debates are summarized in a conference report. 

 

  • For a free download of the conference report  (939 KB) please click here