Wage Bargaining and Short-time Working Programs in Germany: Which Lessons for Italy?

Wage Bargaining and Short-time Working Programs in Germany: Which Lessons for Italy?

2 March 2011

The purpose of the workshop was to discuss what lessons can be drawn from the implementation of the short-time working schemes (Kurzarbeit) in Germany and the experience on controlled decentralization of collective bargaining. The meeting was also intended as a follow-up to a previous fRDB conference on collective bargaining and the German experience with the exit clause, held at the Bank of Italy twelve years ago.

Tito Boeri (Scientific Director of the Fondazione Ing. Rodolfo Debenedetti) and Fabiano Schivardi (University of Cagliari and EIEF) introduced the speakers:

  • Michael Burda (Professor of macroeconomics at Humboldt University of Berlin, expert in collective bargaining and labour markets)
  • Claus Schnabel (Professor of economics at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen, Nürnberg, and expert in the decentralisation of collective bargaining and union consultant)
  • Herbert Bruecker (Head of Research at the Department for International Comparisons and European Integration at IAB, Nürnberg)

The speakers illustrated the macroeconomic aspects of the German crisis, the features of the German bargaining system and the “recipes” which have resulted in a limited raising of unemployment during the crisis (individual working time accounts, temporary agency workers, short-time working programs like Kurzarbeit).

After the presentations there was a debate about the possible implications of the German experience on the Italian labour market. Among participants, Luigi Angeletti (General Secretary UIL), Raffaele Bonanni (General Secretary CISL), Susanna Camusso (General Secretary CGIL) and Emma Marcegaglia (President of Confindustria).