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BASIS-INFO, n4 1998

As in many other industrialized countries, advances in computer technology are transforming Germany's industrial society into an information and services society. Increasingly fewer jobs are available in traditional industries and in the public sector. In the 1990s, Germany's trade unions and employers' associations have experienced steady declines in membership. Regional collective agreements have become the main problem for employers' associations and trade unions. Although both sides have acknowledged that the regional collective agreement model needs a thorough overhaul, their proposals for revising the model remain far apart. Research has shown that most Germans are now generally ready to accept flexible organization of their working hours from Monday to Saturday. The 1996 legislation on old-age part-time work represents an attempt by Germany's government to accomplish three things: meet older workers' wishes for a gradual transition into retirement, make older workers financially able to vacate their posts for younger workers, and stop the practice of early retirement, thereby relieving the burden on the pension insurance system. If Germany is to maintain its success on the world market in the new global economy, unions and management must redefine their own functions and adjust their decades-old functioning social partnership accordingly. (MN)

Descriptors: Collective Bargaining, Economic Change, Employer Employee Relationship, Employment Patterns, Employment Practices, Flexible Working Hours, Foreign Countries, Job Development, Older Adults, Organizational Change, Part Time Employment, Regional Planning, Social Responsibility, Unions

Autor: Horstkotte, Hermann


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