The DGB Trade Unions since the Crisis


The crisis unleashed new dynamics in the interaction between state, enterprises and trade unions. In the run-up to the Bundestag election in 2009 overlapping interests favoured a new »crisis corporatism« to rein in the consequences of the crisis. For the trade unions employment security was at the top of the agenda.

In spring 2014 it looks as if workers and trade unions in Germany have come through the years of the Great Recession and the ensuing »euro-crisis« comparatively unscathed.

At the same time, the increase in precarious employment is evident. The debate on regulating temporary work is an example of how the trade unions have reacted to this problem.

In 2013 five of the eight DGB trade unions experienced positive membership growth. Since the mid-2000s the DGB trade unions have come to regard strengthening and expanding their position in companies as their biggest practical challenge.

The DGB plays the important role of coordinator in more large-scale actions supported by all trade unions, such as the minimum wage campaign.

the_dgb_trade_unions_since_the_crisis.pdf1.2 MB
Heiner Dribbusch and Peter Birke

Dr Heiner Dribbusch, Head of Collective Bargaining and
Trade Union Policy, Institute of Economic and Social Research
(WSI), Hans-Böckler-Stiftung.
Dr Peter Birke, Sociological Research Institute, University of