The Village View

Friday, March 31, 2006

Democracy a la deutsche labor

In a vote this month, 91 percent rejected a proposal to set up a council.

"I thought, in a democracy, when you have a vote of 91 percent to 9 percent, the 9 percent would accept that," the chief executive of SAP, Henning Kagermann, said Tuesday.

However, three employees who supported a works council filed a petition with a German labor court. Because Germany guarantees workers the right to organize, SAP concluded that it had no legal ground to block a council.

I don't purport to understand German labor laws, but I do understand basic math. 9 out of 10 employees don't want it, but hey, we're gonna get one anyway. Willkommen in Deutschland.

I think this has a lot less to do with protecting the German worker and a lot more to do with protecting IG Metall. The union lost over 100,000 members from 2003 to 2004. SAP has 10,000 employees in Germany; maybe they're hoping they can pick a few up new members. Well, they've got 3, so that's a start.


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