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Holding the Shop TogetherGerman Industrial Relations in the Postwar Era$
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Stephen J. Silvia

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452215

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452215.001.0001

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The Enduring Resilience of the Law and the State in German Industrial Relations

The Enduring Resilience of the Law and the State in German Industrial Relations

(p.13) Chapter 1 The Enduring Resilience of the Law and the State in German Industrial Relations
Holding the Shop Together

Stephen J. Silvia

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines how law and the state supported and sustained Germany's postwar industrial relations system. It first provides an overview of the German labor law before considering how the postwar German state has bolstered the social partners through the use of tripartite bodies to govern numerous aspects of German society, both economic and noneconomic. It then challenges two widely held assumptions about labor law and the role of the state in postwar industrial relations. First, the German economy was more successful in the immediate postwar era because losing World War II wiped the slate clean of prewar laws and deals between interest groups and the state that hindered growth. Second, labor and management practitioners commonly stress collective bargaining autonomy and underplay the important role of the state in providing the prerequisites for that autonomy. The chapter argues that the forces driving membership trends for German trade unions and employers associations differ and that state support of German industrial relations cannot be held responsible for change in the postwar era.

Keywords:   labor law, Germany, industrial relations system, German economy, World War II, collective bargaining autonomy, trade unions, employers associations, industrial relations, postwar Germany

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