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Lecture

POLI 212 Lecture Notes - Hot Autumn, Federal Labour Court, Wildcat Strike Action


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLI 212
Professor
Hudson Meadwell

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MARCH 14, 2012:
Vanberg and Martin:
“The principle agent problem” and their argument about why compromise is an
issue in coalition government and why it arises, and ways in which compromises
can be maintained in coalition governments are the main points to take away from
this reading.
There is an implicit contrast between politics of single party and politics of coalition
governments.
Labour excluded and labour included” are analytical types with a specific
geographic designation in Kesselman and Krieger. Labour inclusion in the northern
pattern (Germany and Britain), and the southern pattern is labour excluded (France
and Italy).
Labour included is about how class politics is organized. There is a high rate of
unionization; there is a single peak trade union confederation in the economy, and a
trade union confederation with the capacity to control the behaviour of rank-and
file workers. There is a single democratic or social democracy party with enough
power to form a government on its own.
Germany fits this pattern well. The unions in (West) Germany are industrial union.
The union structure is highly regulated. There are 16 trade unions organized in a
single peak association. Unions cover industries as a whole. Collective bargaining
in Germany is highly regulated at the state level, which means contracts produced
between businesses and workers from collective bargaining are regulated by the
state. Collective bargaining occurs every few years. Strikes at the shop-floor level
are illegal, and subject to discipline and sanction. They are regulated through a
particular institution- the Federal Labour Court, which is in place to regulate
disputes and conflict between business and labour and between trade union
organizations.
Britain does not fit as perfectly into this category, but is still labour included. Union
tradition is that of craft unionism. They are organized by specific skills, not into a
single union. The historical origins of these craft unions are guilds. There is a single
peak association in labour- TUC (the Trade Union Congress), but it is a trade union
confederation without the organization capacity to discipline its rank-and-file
workers. This means are there are more slowdown, wildcat strikes, or work
stoppages than in the German economy. Collective bargaining is not directly
regulated by the state like it is in Germany.
Both trade unions had a kind of radical commitment built into their trade union
constitution. They both supported nationalization of industry. The German social
democratic party gave up that commitment in 1958, but to that point it had defined
the identity and commitment of the left in Germany and the social democratic party.
When they gave this up, it was a signal that the SDP was thinking about how to form
a government of its own in German politics. For most of the early years of the post
war settlement in Germany, the Christian Democratic union, a party of the centre-
right, dominated politics. The SDP feared that they could expect a political life of
permanent opposition if they did not move more to the centre. The domination by
the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) was known as “chancellor democracy”
because it was led by a main figure- the chancellor. (Conrad Addenhower)
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