Activity: Talk or presentation types › Invited talk
Codetermination – worker participation in management – forms part of the industrial relations traditions of a number of European countries. Among these, the German system of parity codetermination (paritätische Mitbestimmung) which was first introduced in the iron and steel industries by the British military command after the Second World War provides the greatest level of involvement for workers. Reconstituted German trade unions had begun to call for the institutionalization of Mitbestimmung – which they associated with the equal status of workers and employers in the management of enterprises – as early as March 1946 at their first post-war congress. The literature suggests that these calls were influenced by plans for a reorganization of the German economy drawn up by exiled German trade-unionists based in the UK during the Second World War. This paper traces the origins of these plans which were developed in Britain during the Second World War in order to determine to what extent British socialist thinking influenced the German institution of co-determination.