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International Socialism, Spring 1965


Volkhard Mosler

The German Trade Union Movement 1945-1952


From International Socialism (1st series), No.20, Spring 1965, pp.23-28.
Thanks to Ted Crawford & the late Will Fancy.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


1. The Immediate Post-War Period

The position of the German working classes in 1945 was determined by the following factors:

  1. The extent of destruction, the hunger and general need exceeding by far anything previously known. Such a situation was less suited to change in a socialist direction than one of greater prosperity.
  2. Some of the most important socialist cadres had perished in German prisons and concentration camps and some had never returned from emigration.
  3. For 12 years the German working class had been exposed to National Socialist propaganda and discipline; the 12-year-long suppression of any open class struggle and the almost complete absence of any socialist propaganda or education in the parties and the trade unions had practically destroyed such class consciousness as had existed up until 1933.
  4. The fascist state apparatus had not been overcome from within, through conflict with the working class, but from without, by Allied troops.

Thus it is not surprising that the newly formed trade unions in the three Western zones should regard their military dictators as the allies of a democratic workers’ movement rather than as new oppressors.

The occupation policies of the military governments were from the beginning not, as was claimed, neutral, and these military governments were certainly not as friendly towards the trade unions as the latter believed for a long time. Colonel C.M. Bolds, representing the American military government, said at the Bavarian Trade Union Congress in 1948, ‘Don’t forget that the future of the democratic trades unions in Germany and the future of your country are one and the same thing!’ but this was only one of the many declarations of friendship towards the the trade unions which the military governments felt they were compelled to make by communist competition, after the breaking up of the War Alliance. The trade unionists let themselves be deceived: they did not see that the occupation powers were capitalist powers and as such not interested in socialist experiments in Germany. The military governments of Western Germany served the interests of the German bourgeoisie.

Thus 5 May 1945, the day of the capitulation, was anything but a completely fresh beginning. The political framework was constructed by the military governments; the economic and social scene, although generally chaotic, still bore capitalist features; the Allies had not – apart from war reparations – disturbed existing property relations. An independent, socialist Germany, such as the trade unionists had in mind, was only to be achieved in opposition to the Allies, not in co-operation with them.

A plan drawn up by the British military regime for the development of the trade unions laid down the following phases: people interested in forming a trade union must first contact one another informally and then obtain special permission for its foundation from the military government. At the end of one and a half years, these local trade unions would be allowed to collect membership subscriptions. Not until 1947 were they allowed to organise themselves on a regional and national level. Strikes were banned until October 1948. Similar laws were passed by the Americans; the chief aim of the French seemed to be to sabotage the revival of Germany for as long and as effectively as possible. The chief argument of the Allies was that the trade unions must develop democratically from the very bottom. However, the manner in which the German trade unions were in fact reconstructed demonstrates the ineffectiveness of bureaucratic impediments against highly qualified industrial workers with sufficient will to organise. From the very beginning subscriptions were collected illegally, secret regional conferences were held and a network of contacts was built up between the zones in spite of the difficulties of communication.

Scarcely three years since the reformation of the trade unions and fifteen years after their destruction by the National Socialists, there were 4,779,000 organised trade unionists out of 12,028,000 workers. Thus at a time such as this, with one-third of the workers organised, the normal percentage for industrial countries had already been reached. The spontaneous will of the workers alone and not the will of a small group of top officials had achieved this organisational wonder. The direct vehicles of this spontaneous will were the shop councils. The leading role which these played in the reconstruction of the trade unions can also be seen from the fact that a large number of the shop stewards later became chief figures in the trade union bureaucracy. Even for the re-establishment of production itself the shop councils, i.e. the initiative of the working masses, were of basic importance. The collapse of fascism had affected the management of industry, which had been part of the fascist scheme of power. In a situation in which most of the industrial managers had left their posts and in which in many factories even the foreman was absent, the workers’ committees reorganised production: their ability for improvisation at a time when everything from food to raw materials was scarce destroys the argument that the workers are unable to organise production.

‘If the workers did not take full advantage of their new position of power ... then the occupation forces must bear most of the blame, though the organs of the working-class movement itself must share it. In particular two neglected factors can be pointed out. One is that there was no organisation of the shop councils on a local or regional level, so that they were never able to play a definite part ... in the economic and political rebuilding of West Germany. Moreover the trade unions never managed – in spite of their opportunities after 1945 – to establish themselves directly in the various factories.’

Had these two conditions been fulfilled, ‘the basis could have been laid for new industrial relations long before the "legal" establishment of an industrial framework could have been thought of.’ [1] The strength of the Allied troops, against which the shop councils might have had to fight, encountered the double weakness of the working-class movement: a defective political consciousness and another old weakness:

‘The lack of a political programme which had the factory as its central point and which proceeded from the factory affected the development of the trade unions ... in a particularly disadvantageous fashion. This lack ... must be regarded as an original sin of the German working-class movement, a sin which is all the more incomprehensible because the importance of factory-organisation for the organisation of society in general was obvious after 1945.’ [2]

By leaving the power vacuum in the factories empty by waiting for a new legal order of things to be established, the working class gave the employers the chance to organise themselves afresh.

2. The Failure of the ‘General Trades Union’

Under the influence of the rapid reconstruction of the local trade unions the workers developed a brilliant plan of organisation. Hans Bockler, later the first president of the DGB (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund – the West German TUC) expounded this plan at the inaugural conference of the trade unions:

‘The union shall include workers, office employees and civil servants. We should abandon the old division into three sections. We want one union, divided up naturally according to industry. The organisation will be constructed in the same way at local level.’

The separate industrial groups would be only executive organs of this ‘General Trades Union’ and would be financially dependent upon it. Theo Pirker, an intellectual who has worked for a long time in the trade unions, writes:

‘If we remember the important role which the shop councils played in the formation of the trade unions and if we connect this "worker council movement" with the idea of a "General Trades Union", then the phenomenon of a centrally directed mass organisation with a wide democratic basis, such as has never existed in the history of the German and perhaps of the whole international trade union movement, comes into view ... The massive threat of the occupying powers to prevent trade union activities, should they insist on the formula of the "General Trades Council" forced them to capitulate. This was the first and not the least important capitulation of the new trade union leaders under the force of circumstances.’ [3]

In November 1945 a delegation of British trade unionists advised their German brothers to give up the idea of a General Trades Union and dealt the decisive blow in favour of autonomous industrial unions.

Here it was shown for the second time that the Allies were determined to control the rate of growth and the form of the trade unions so that they did not overtake and surpass in organisation the political and economic reorganisation of the country. [4]

3. ‘Political Independence’: Unions in Retreat

The autonomous industrial unions which now came into being were general unions insofar as they amalgamated within them the old Liberal, Christian, Social Democratic and craft unions. Before 1933 there had already been efforts at unification between the Christian and Social Democratic unions. They remained, however, influenced by a conservative concept: the maintenance of the social status quo in face of the danger of fascism and communism. The driving force behind unification after 1945 was, however, the ‘United Front’ of the persecuted against fascism. Another force was the socialist inclination of public opinion generally. The three most basic political trends which showed themselves in 1945, Christian, Social-Democrat and Communist were united in the view that the new Germany should no longer be capitalist. Thus there appeared in the Ahlen programme of the Christian Democratic Union, adopted in 1947, the now legendary words:

‘The capitalist economic system has not done justice to the vital political and social interests of the German people. After the terrible political, economic and social collapse resulting from a criminal, power-thirsty policy, only a new order built right from the ground can succeed ...

‘By an economic system of collective ownership the German people would receive an economic and social constitution in accordance with the rights and dignity of men, which would serve the spiritual and material revival of our people and which would ensure internal and external peace.’

In the province of Hessen in 1946, 78 per cent of the population voted in favour of the nationalisation of the basic industries. Thus the socialism of the united trade unions in West Germany did not appear as a party-political question – it was the basic idea and wish of people generally.

‘In the strong swing towards the trade unions outlet was found for the old distaste of the German people for the political parties. These even during the Weimar Republic, had never had the sympathy of the masses to great degree. After 1945 – following the painful experience of the National Socialist party – what little sympathy there was became definite aversion ... so the united trade union was the ripe product of the time ... It was so natural a development for the officials and members, that its theoretical basis and its possibilities and dangers were never thoroughly discussed.’ [5]

A high price was paid for the united trades unions: the traditional affiliation of the strongest trade unions with the Social Democratic Party was broken. What was described in the Munich Programme of 1949 of the DGB as ‘Independence from the political parties’, was later used with great success by the small minority Catholic wing against every political gesture of the trade unions was laid. Meanwhile, however, a whole list of as party-political neutrality and continually threatened to split the trade union movement should this neutrality not be maintained. It was obvious that a social-democratic party or movement without the mass basis of the trade unions would not be strong enough for future conflicts.

In October 1949 the 16 industrial unions founded the German TUG in Munich. Many trade unionists believed that now the basis for the socialist development of West Germany by way of the Trade Unions was laid. Meanwhile, however, a whole list of decisions had been made all of which pointed in the direction of private capitalism, including the announcement of the Marshall Plan in 1947, the currency reform in June 1958, and the proclamation of the New Constitution for West Germany.

The developments in world politics from 1947 to 1948 gave a decisive impetus to the powers within West Germany who were pressing for a full restoration of capitalism. The failure of the Moscow Conference of March 1947 regarding a peace treaty with Germany was the formal end of the war-coalition. Two months later George Marshall, the US Foreign Minister, announced a comprehensive plan to aid the Economy of Europe. The offensives of the Communist Parties in France and Italy from 1947 to 1948, the Greek Civil War, die communist seizure of power in Czechoslovakia in February 1948, the developments in the civil war in China and the Berlin Blockade in 1948 -- some of these being reactions against the Marshall plan – brought the Cold War to its full pitch. The events in Czechoslovakia had shown that a neutral zone in central Europe could no longer be hoped for. The plans of the United States for Germany were clear: speedy amalgation of the three Western zones and die foundation of a state widi a liberal bourgeois constitution. The first decisive step in this direction was taken when the so-called ‘two-zone economic councils’ (bizonale Wirtschaftsämter) were dissolved in 1947. The chairman of the most important of these councils had been Victor Agartz, a left-wing Social Democrat and Marxist, who until 1955 was the chief theoretician of the trade union movement. The orthodox liberal Ludwig Erhard became chairman of the newly founded ‘Frankfurt Economic Council’ (Frankfurter Wirtschaftsrat). The trade unions were not, in spite of the objections of the Council of regional parliaments (Länderrat), given a place in the planning offices. A comprehensive planned economy was now out of the question.

At an extraordinary national congress in June 1948, the trade unions decided to accept the Marshall Plan. The proceedings at this congress showed how committed the forces that wanted to build an independent Germany already were. Thus Hans Böckler censured the guest delegate from the TUC of the Eastern zone for interfering in the debate in his message of greetings. He did not censure the representatives of the British military government and the British TUC who had spoken in an equally biased manner in their greetings. The conference was also an indication of how far the process of bureaucratisation within the trade unions had already gone. The opponents of the Marshall Plan had no opportunity to offer any reply to Hans Böckler. The time allowed to each participant in the discussion was 10 minutes and after eight speakers a motion to end the debate was passed. The majority of the delegates did not see that the internal democracy of the trade unions had been dealt a severe blow. They saw only that the opposition to the Marshall Plan came from the communist minority and against them such means were of course justified ...

That the trade unions were not immune to the general trend towards blind anti-communism can also be seen if one looks at relations between the West German trade unions and the FDGB, die East German Trades Union, which – promoted by the Soviet Military Government – had come into being straight away in 1945. The World Federation of Trade Unions, formed in 1945, decided at an assembly in June 1946 ‘to accept the enrolment of the German trade unions in principle’, on condition that a central organisation be established in Germany. From 1946 to 1948 seven inter-zone conferences took place at which preparations were made for the calling of a general German trades union congress. The sixth of diese conferences, in October 1947, decided to call the general congress in spring 1948. At the seventh conference, Fritz Tarnow, an old social democratic trade unionist, proposed a declaration of trade union principles over which the participants in the conference could not agree. For example, he stated:

‘When the power of the state is tied to a monopolistic and privileged party and other political parties and movements are banned ... then there can be no democracy.’

This was a conscious move to forego any compromise with the FDGB and the renunciation of any form of united front. Tarnow’s declaration of principle was the credo of an old-style reformist that a socialist society can be created only from a bourgeois democracy and only by using its methods. This meant both recognition of Western democracy and the abandonment of any revolutionary activity. When in 1949 the WFTU finally broke down, the newly formed DGB joined the International Federation of Free Trade Unions which, under the influence of the powerful American CIO and AFL, refused to cooperate in any way with the communists. Thus the West German trade unions added their contribution to the funeral of post-war socialism, for only a united Germany would have had a chance of developing independently.

4. The ‘Economic Reforms’

Shortly after the acceptance of the Marshall Plan by the trade unions the military governments announced die ‘Currency Reform Law’ for the three Western zones. The Reichsmark was made invalid and every inhabitant of the Western zones received 60 Deutsche Mak. All savings up to 70 Reichsmark were exchanged at the ratio of one to one; savings over 1000 Reichsmark at the ratio of five to one.

The basis of any economic policy for West Germany had to be the solution of the financial problem. Because of the irresponsible fiscal policy of the Nazi regime, which had financed the war by excessive printing of notes, the national debt by 1945 was 390 thousand million Reichsmarks. The inflationary tendencies which, although hidden, had been in existence since the beginning of the war came into the open in 1945. The Reichsmark gradually lost its function and American cigarettes were used for exchange purposes. As there was no real control of production, only part of the production was reported, the rest being used partly to do business on the black market and partly to hoard goods in preparation for the day of the currency reform. The result was a shortage of supplies, especially food, which was made more acute by the loss of the vital agricultural lands of East Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia and the simultaneous increase in population through the 10,000,000 refugees from these territories.

Effective control could be carried out only by the shop councils which, as non-property owners, had a natural interest in such a check. The military governments, by refusing to recognise laws passed by the regional parliaments which required the shop committees’ signature to production statements, facilitated the quick concentration of capital into a few hands.

The currency reform dealt the broad masses of working people the hardest blow. The hope of the trade unions that the reform would be accompanied by particular consideration for the small-scale saver was not fulfilled. The possessors of money had to bear all the ill-effects of the currency reform whilst the owners of the means of production remained unaffected. Never before in the history of German capitalism were the class divisions of society so openly made the basis of an economic decision.

The simultaneous repeal of price control caused the real income of the workers to fall from 32 per cent to 24 per cent of the national product. The indignation of the masses was all the stronger when they found themselves with empty pockets in front of shop windows suddenly full of goods: now for the first time the extent of hoarding could be fully seen.

The trade unions did not want to take the ordinary road of the wage strike. They treated the question of prices and income as a political question: they demanded effective price control and a return to rationing of food and other essential goods. They formed committees on price reduction and control which negotiated with the parties and authorities. At the same time the population was given information through leaflets, posters conferences and mass demonstrations. Many leading trade unionists demanded a general strike, but the DGB executive committee decided against this measure and called on the working population to stop work for one day, on 12th November 1948. This strike was an organisational success as a demonstration, but politically it was a defeat. In order to gain acceptance for their demands – which would have meant a complete change in the economy – the trade unions would have had to bring into play far more powerful weapons.

5. The New Constitution and ‘Joint Control’

With the proclamation in May 1949 of the Constitution for a West German state, the political framework, within which the trade unions were to work, was determined. The fact that they took hardly any notice of this constitution at their inaugural congress in Munich showed that they thought that, just because they had not taken part into its creation, they could ignore it. The constitution, a typically liberal bourgeois one, gave the trade unions not a word of mention. Yet the trade unions had played in 1945 as important a part in the political field as the shop councils had in that of production. Even more important than their work in private industry had been the role of the trade unions in restoring order at a local level, particularly through their initiative in organising and maintaining the public services and in organising salvage work, provisioning and security. If no new industrial-municipal constitution arose out of the taking over of the local tasks by the workers, this was because the material duties of the day demanded their whole attention. It is precisely at this point, however, that the negative role of the occupying powers can be seen: they had relied upon the workers and their unions at local level but had not been willing to give them any political rights there. The local governments established by the military powers consisted directly of the political parties, and allowed for no representation for the trade unions; the local councils formed the nucleus of the reconstruction of the new state and must be considered one of the most important reasons for the development of parliamentary democracy in West Germany. In waiting for a comprehensive national law for the municipal councils the trade unions – here, just as in the factories – failed to seize the opportunity to anticipate the constitution by decisive action. At all events – and this must be emphasised – a movement from below for a constitution would inevitably have collided with the system of military dictatorship. And so the constitution was formulated by and for those in command – the occupying forces, the parliamentarians, the state bureaucrats and scientists. Basic rights concerning working conditions were not mentioned, for the constitution was to be socially ‘neutral’. By the legally equal treatment of those with a socially unequal share of power, the idea of democracy thus became a fiction.

The trade unions’ last hope for any sudden change disappeared when the Christian Democratic Party won the 1949 general election, narrowly beating the SPD, and the Catholic, conservative Adenauer became Chancellor. For the first time it became obvious what neutrality of the trade unions in elections meant: whilst the CDU carried on its election campaign with the financial backing of the employers and the support of the Catholic church with all its means of propaganda, the SPD had to fight without financial contributors and without the mass support of the trade unions.

In spite of this, the trade union officials still believed at this time that they could realise the programme adopted at the Munich congress.

The most important demands were:

  1. An extensively planned economy based on production for use.
  2. Equal voting rights for workers and management at all levels of economic planning.
  3. Nationalisation of basic industries, in particular mining, steel, chemicals, power, transport and banking.

Hans Böckler, the newly elected chairman of the DGB, had time and again pointed out that joint control of workers and management, nationalisation and a planned economy must be seen as one inseparable unity. As the trade unions were not prepared to take up the struggle against the existing economic order as a whole, the idea of joint control became purely an ideal: its basically illusory nature within the framework of private ownership was not recognised. Nowadays there prevails amongst critics of the trade unions and actually within some unions themselves the belief that true joint control is only desirable and possible at the lowest levels of industry, on the shop floor: on questions of organisation of work, wage structure, piece-work, etc. The trade unions did not ask themselves at that time whether by joint control in the running of industry they might not be taking responsibility for something over which they had, in the last resort, no control, and whether they might not be tying their hands in the event of future conflicts.

Anyway the employers in West Germany had by 1951 become far too powerful to be sensible. They overlooked the possibility they had of integrating the trade unions within the existing system.

The Government, the employers and the trade unions equally overestimated the concept of joint control. Thus in January 1951 an almost revolutionary situation arose. The government confined a bill for an industrial constitution to the real bone of contention: the steel and coal concerns in the Rhein and Ruhr districts. The owners of these concerns bore names such as Krupp, Thyssen and Flick. The political odium that these inindustrial kings had gained before and after 1933 pervaded these branches of industry. The direct aim of the trade unions was to prevent the political misuse of this economic power. The miners voted 96.7 per cent, the steel workers 95 per cent, in favour of strike measures. When the Chancellor saw how threatening the situation had become, he gave in: the new law provided for equal representation on the Boards of Supervision (Aufsichstrat) of the industries: five representatives from the shareholders, five from the workers and trade unions, plus an eleventh neutral participant who was to be elected by mutual agreement. [6]

6. The Causes of Weakness

One month after the struggle regarding joint control in the coal and steel industries Hans Böckler died. Only now did the organisational weakness of the DGB – based on national, regional and local branches – become apparent. The constitution of the DGB was cut to fit the strong personality and recognised authority of Hans Böckler. The double weakness of constitution and chairman would never have been able to straddle the weak structure of the DGB. As the chairmen of the 16 industrial unions were all entitled to vote on the executive of the DGB only a strong chairman could make more of the DGB than the occasional gathering of 16 industrial unions.

Christian Fette, up to now chairman of the printing and paper union, was voted into Böckler’s place. With the change in leadership came also a change in policy. By a policy of a ‘constructive co-operation’ the new executive hoped to be able to win from the government further basic compromises on the question of joint control.

On the issue of the Schumann Plan concerning the amalgamation of the coal and steel industries of West Germany and France, and in the debate on rearmament, the executive committee of the DGB stabbed the SPD in the back and sided with the government. On the question of rearmament, the executive committee had gone too far, however. The lower officials refused to obey their superiors. The strength and determination of this opposition, the first action from ‘below’ in the new trade union movement that was not led by communists, surprised the trade union leaders; they were forced to give up their policy of ‘constructive cooperation’. They were also forced to do this by the government, who in no way let themselves be impressed by such friendly behaviour from the DGB. The government’s ‘Industrial Constitution Bill’ (Betriebsverfassungsgesetzentwurf) did not in any way coincide with the ideas of the trade unions, which involved the extension of joint control to all branches of public and private industry on the pattern of the coal and steel industry.

There was more at stake for the Government than just the bill – namely the taming of the trade unions. A trade union victory would have led to the dangerous situation where the trade unions might become an extra-parliamentary power, a second authority, in every political issue. It was feared that in industry and in national life generally there would arise a system of dual power. The managers saw more clearly than the trade unions that there could only be true joint control in a society where there is a balance of power between the classes.

The main weapon of the trade unions was the mass demonstration. A two-day newspaper strike, on 28-29 May 1952, by the printing and paper union brought not success but a furious outburst from the already hostile press. In radical speeches Fette even spoke of a general strike, but the trade unions were not prepared for more than token strikes. Their last activity showed that they had already succumbed to the ideology of representative democracy: in an appeal to members of Parliament they called for the adjournment of the third and final reading of the Bill. However, the law was quickly passed: it provided for a one-third representation for workers on the Board of Supervision, but not for the appointment of a personal manager by the trade union. With this the trade unions were conclusively integrated into the new system.

At the next national congress in Berlin, Christian Fette tried to explain to delegates that mistakes made in the past were due simply to pressure of work:

‘No chairman of the German TUC since its beginning has had such a difficult task as I in the one and a quarter years of my office. The proof: newly elected, my first day in office was already taken up from morn till night with an executive meeting. Everyone agreed that I settled down to the work well and mastered it. Then came 15 days in Milan, the Congress of the ICFTU, and I had hardly been back 5 days, when I was caught up in the trouble over the Schumann Plan, rearmament and so on. And much can be explained by historical problems, which I would gladly see cleared up, but which we have not yet been able to get our teeth into, not by any means because of lack of energy on the part of brother Fette, but because of lack of time ...’

Theo Pirker, who was himself active in the Trade Unions at this time, writes concerning this:

‘These statements of Fette were the SOS of the little trade union official who had become a politician overnight. His background, his education, and his capabilities were not sufficient to master the demands made of him. The tasks were greater than he ... Too much was demanded of him and he demanded too much of himself. But this was the position of trade union leaders generally – without any exception.’

Whilst the organisation had grown from year to year, the trade union leaders had remained at their old level.

‘This contradiction between opportunity and ability was the final cause of the defeat of the trade unions in July 1952, and was the basic reason for their easy taming by the government.’ [7]

Yet in another place, Pirker writes:

‘The psychology of the trade union officials, which was marked by a fluctuation between over-enthusiasm and disappointment, was also that ... of a large part of the working class in West Germany and in particular of the politically active sector. One can actually speak in this connection of a trade union and social democratic Psyche, which expressed itself from time to time in quasi-revolutionary activities. In spite of the tremendous participation of workers in such demonstrations, it is still questionable whether the demonstrators would in fact have stood up to lengthy struggles.’ [8]

But if the masses were not ready to last out during longer struggles, could the decision of the ‘little trade union officials’ to capitulate be condemned? For Pirker it is only a question of appointing more intellectual leadership: he does not realise that the failure of the leadership is primarily the failure of the masses. If the German working class had really been ready in 1952 to carry out extensive joint control, ie to take revolutionary action, why was there no attempt to send Fette and company packing? Certainly the trade union bureaucrats were not masters of the situation just simply because they were bureaucrats. But the course of events was not just the fault of the individual Trade Union secretaries. Bureaucrats are produced by bureaucracies, which in turn are only to a very small extent the conscious product of the trade union officials. The bureaucratisation of the trade unions and the socialist parties is itself a product of historical circumstances. The case of the trade union congress that met to discuss the Marshall Plan in 1948 shows how anti-communism had the effect of undermining trade union democracy.

The developments in Germany after 1945 were above all determined by the economic and political decisions of the Allies. A revolutionary struggle by the trade unions with the military governments under the power relations of the time would hardly have had a chance of success.


1. Die blinde Macht, die Gewerkschaftsbewegung in Westdeutschland, Theo Pirker, Vol.1, p.120.

2. Ibid., p.121.

3. Ibid., p.38.

4. From 1946 to 1948 the Allied command invalidated a whole series of progressive laws passed by the provincial parliaments, including such socialistic measures as the giving to the shop committees of decision-making power equal to that of the managements, the converting of the Chambers of Trade into Economic Councils which would ensure the trade unions equal voting rights with the managements in regional economic planning, and the socialisation of basic industries.

5. Ibid., p.55.

6. Under German company law the Board of Supervision decides the overall policy of the company. A member of the board may not normally be associated with the day-to-day conduct of the business of the undertaking. This is the task of the Board of Management (Vorstand) which, pursuant to this particular law for the coal and steel companies, must be based on the collegiate principle – that is, its members, usually a Commercial, a Technical and a Labour Director, have equal authority. The Labour Director cannot be appointed against the votes of the workers’ representatives on the Board of Supervision, so that in effect his appointment lies in the hands of the trade unions.

7. Ibid., pp.289-90.

8. Ibid., p.258.

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