Re: Close down the distribution site and move the jobs elsewhere.
>I've had to deal with some larger German businesses, and it's a miracle they actually manage
>to make a profit there. I'm all for worker's rights, but some of the stuff they have implemented is
>not terribly well thought out.
Well, given that co-determination (Mitbestimmung) is codified since 1976, yout'd think they'd ditched it if it were that badly thought out. However, it is actually seen as one of the factors that helped to build and strengthen the loyality that German employees typically have towards their employer and the willingness to support uncomfortable measures to keep a company up and running. For the employers, the model of tarriff-partnership implies a negotiation partner that will engage in negotiations not on a company level, but on the level of a commercial sector and acheive binding tarriff agreements with defined durations and levels that no single entity can legally flout. Over the last 15 years, this model served to keep wage increases down to improve competiveness, however, quite a few feel that this has gone far enough.
Amazon is not within such agreements, so it is within the rights of the Unions to force Amazon to the table with legal methods.
As for making profits, well, in the beginning of VW paid a premium of €7.200 for the fiscal year 2012 to all their employees working under these tarriff contracts, without strings attached and without any contractual need to do so. Porsche and Mercedes Benz did similar things. Something on the order of "we had a really good year, and we'd like you to profit from it." Think about the employer-employee-loyality that engenders.
Another little point: In Germany, typically the resignation period is three months. The employees are expected to fulfill their contractual work duties for their old employer until the actual date of severance and keep faith with the company. And they do. That actually holds true, too, if you are being let go for anything but cause, though there other agreements are often negociated.
> It appears employees can form a sort of own board in a large company which is able
> to influence company decisions, but without the matching responsibility for the
> consequences, and Ive seen some real howlers, like demanding reinstatement of
> someone caught stealing, in exactly the same position. Weird.
They are call Betriebsrat (Workers Council) within the private sector and Personalrat (Personell Council) within government service. The BR is represented in the supervisory board or board of directors in large companies. Yes, sometimes they go overboard. But they do serve to
www.iwkoeln.de/_storage/asset/58118/storage/master/file/518967/download/trends01_09_7.pdf, a study about strikes in OECD countries (sorry, German, but table 1 ist easily understandable) shows that in Germany between 2000 and 2007 the loss of workdays per year per 1000 employees due to strikes was 5 workdays lost.
The comparable numbers are:
You were saying?