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Vertical Disintegration and the Disorganization of German Industrial Relations

Authors

  • Virginia Doellgast,

    1. Department of Management, King’s College London
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    • Virginia Doellgast is at the Department of Management, King’s College London. Ian Greer is at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University and Leeds Business School.

  • Ian Greer

    1. School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University and Leeds Business School
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Virginia Doellgast is at the Department of Management, King’s College London. Ian Greer is at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University and Leeds Business School.


Abstract

Drawing on case studies from the telecommunications and auto industries, the authors argue that the vertical disintegration of major German employers is contributing to the disorganization of Germany’s dual system of in-plant and sectoral negotiations. Subcontractors, subsidiaries and temporary agencies often have no collective bargaining institutions or are covered by different firm-level and sectoral agreements. As core employers move jobs to these firms, they introduce new organizational boundaries across the production chain and disrupt traditional bargaining structures. Worker representatives are developing new campaign approaches and using residual power at large firms to establish representation in new firms and sectors, but these have not been successful at rebuilding co-ordinated bargaining.

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