Grappling with Democracy
Chapter 9: Employee voice in Germany: dual channels
The German labor law model is built on both strong social partners and strong individual employee rights, particularly with respect to voice. The dual channel system with employee representation through both works councils and labor unions provides several avenues for employees to raise issues directly to the employer with support, to the works council, or to the trade union. The works councils are given enhanced statutory duties with respect to certain protected groups based on sex, age, disability, and race. Two important points can be seen in the procedural rules concerning labor disputes: quick and efficient solutions that are transparent and focused on the needs of the public, and employees’ access to justice in courts, with a reallocation of trial costs and fees to minimize the economic risks to employees, as well as checks that the costs and fees are not excessive.
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