Preparatory workshop for the 3rd Sino-German Trade Union Forum

Event: Social Justice and Trade Unions

The ongoing transformation of the Chinese labor market forces social and political actors continuously to re-think existing processes and to search for new methods and strategies. And the Sino-German Trade Union Forum – in bridging the geographical gap – aims to be an exchange platform for academics and professionals from both countries. In preparation for next year’s conference renowned German labor law professor Dr. Wolfgang Däubler and Dr. Christian Weis, international secretary of the German Metalworkers’ Union (IG Metall), attended a two-day preparatory workshop in Beijing. The main topic addressed at the workshop was collective bargaining.

During the first day the German experts gave presentations on the history of collective bargaining in Germany and on methods how to improve the capability of collective bargaining. Besides representatives of the ACFTU, host of the first day, members of different national sector trade unions, company unions, and the local city trade union participated in the workshop. This diverse audience allowed a stimulating discussion on practical issues of the field. Such as: How to calculate bargaining demands? What are formal limitations on the right to strike? And why did the German trade unions lose so many members in the last decades? The second workshop day was hosted by the China Institute of Industrial Relations (CIIR) and dealt with the overall topic using a more theoretical approach. Prof. Däubler’s presentation focused on problems within the collective bargaining system and lessons learnt in Germany. And Dr. Weis described challenges of collective bargaining and illustrated these problems by using examples of his field of work. The Chinese scholars showed a high interest in continuing the development of collective bargaining and were quite optimistic in terms of the future role of collective bargaining in industrial relations.

 

Besides the preparatory workshop, Mr. Däubler and Mr. Weis also had the chance to visit the Beijing Workers Service Center, an institution held by the Beijing Municipal Federation of Trade Unions which serves as a local level counseling center for trade union members. After a guided tour through the facility they met with local trade unionists and executives of the different service branches and discussed the future role of employee representation in both countries.

 

During the week, Prof. Däubler took the opportunity and gave a lecture at the China University of Political Science and Law, where he used to be a regular Visiting Professor for many years.

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