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Trade Unions of Germany


Last modified: 2012-12-16 by pete loeser
Keywords: trade union | gewerkschaften |
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Introduction to German Trade Unions

All of the flags used by German trade unions have logos. Probably most or all the flags simply contain the logo (perhaps with the name of the union) on a bedsheet. Some of them are seen more frequently during demonstrations or strikes, others are rarely seen. Unfortunately I have no information when were these flags adopted or started to be used. I just have some photos and I drew the GIFs after them.
Marcus Schmöger, 31 March 2001

Some comments on the system of trade unions in Germany:
     The most important trade unions are associated in the German Federation of Trade Unions, or DGB (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund), which has currently about 7,7 Million members. The DGB is a mainly left-wing association, although membership, as well as, leadership contains many people of different political affiliation. This include those from the "left wings" of the CDU and CSU parties; a prominent example is the former CDU Minister for Labour, Norbert Blüm. Currently the following single trade unions belong to the DGB (membership in brackets):

  • ver.di - United Services Union - Vereinigte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft (2,74 Million)
  • IG Metall - Industrial Metal Union - Industriegewerkschaft Metall ) (2,644 Million)
  • IG BCE - Industrial Mining, Chemistry, and Energy Union - Industriegewerkschaft Bergbau, Chemie, Energie (834000)
  • IG BAU - Industrial Building, Agriculture, and Environment Union - Industriegewerkschaft Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt (490000)
  • TRANSNET GdED - German Railway Workers Union - TRANSNET Gewerkschaft der Eisenbahner Deutschlands (297000)
  • GEW - Education and Science Union - Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (265000)
  • Gewerkschaft NGG - Food Consumption and Restaurants Union - Gewerkschaft Nahrung-Genuss-Gaststätten (245000)
  • GdP - German Police Union - Gewerkschaft der Polizei (185000)
     In recent years there have been several mergers of trade unions in the DGB, the last and most important (in 2001) being the merger of five unions. These included the German Employees' Union, or DAG (Deutsche Angestellten-Gewerkschaft), formerly not DGB member, into ver.di.
     Outside the DGB there are also several trade unions of minor size and (mostly) minor importance:
  • Several Christian unions are associated in the Christian Federation of Trade Unions, or CGB (Christlicher Gewerkschaftsbund).
  • The civil servants (Beamte) are organised in the Civil Servants' Association (Beamtenbund), that also includes the German Police Union, or DPolG (Deutsche Polizeigewerkschaft), a competitor of the GdP mentioned above, and several affiliated organisations.
  • Finally there are many smaller unions; however, I do not have a whole picture of all these unions. I want to mention only two: the Union of German Engine-Drivers, or GDL (Gewerkschaft Deutscher Lokomotivführer), which is very active right now; and the Free Workers' Union, or FAU (Freie ArbeiterInnen Union), an anarcho-syndicalist trade union (flag reported by me 11 May 2002).
     At least all the DGB trade unions have their own flags, mainly logo-on-bedsheet with inscriptions, though. Furthermore there are probably a lot of older banners, heavily embroidered; several of them can be seen during the 1 May demonstrations. I have already reported on the flags of the IG Metall (I will give some additional info, though); ver.di (I will give some additional info); three of the former unions merged into ver.di (ÖTV, HBV, IG Medien); FAU.)
Marcus E.V. Schmöger, 4 May 2003

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