Loophole in German labour legislation to be closed

October 24, 2018

Last week, the German federal government announced that it would be closing a loophole in the country’s labour legislation which has traditionally benefited airlines at the expense of workers.

Under the German industrial relations system workers in companies above a certain size are able to form a ‘works council’, giving them an voice in how the company is run. However, the aviation sector has traditionally been exempt from this legislation. While some legacy carriers like Lufhansa have accepted collective bargaining agreements instead, others like Ryanair have been able to ignore the demands of workers and avoid their social obligations.

On Friday 19 October, the German labour minister Hubertus Heil announced that this loophole will be closed. Airlines will now have to abide by the works council legislation, meaning that workers there will have the same legal right for their voices to be heard. This is a very important step forward in ensuring that all transport workers in Germany enjoy a fair deal.

You can watch Mr Heil make his announcement here:

Hubertus Heil at press conference, 19th of October, Frankfurt Airport

Hubertus Heil, Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, 19th of October in Frankfurt

Posted by ver.di Cabin Crew United Germany on Tuesday, 23 October 2018


Our German affiliate union ver.di has long been campaigning for this loophole to be closed. Frank Bsirske, ver.di general secretary, speaks about the challenges facing Ryanair workers:

Frank Bsirske at press conference, 19th of October, Frankfurt Airport

Frank Bsirske, General Secretary of ver.di at press conference, 19th of October in Frankfurt

Posted by ver.di Cabin Crew United Germany on Monday, 22 October 2018


And Christine Behle, one of ver.di’s board members, reacts to the government’s announcement:

Ryanair will now need a German works council

Christine Behle from ver.di shares an important update of relevance to the Ryanair campaign in Germany. The federal labour minister has just announced the extension of works councils to the aviation sector, including for companies like Ryanair where there are currently no collective bargaining agreements with workers.

Posted by International Transport Workers' Federation on Friday, 19 October 2018

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