Workers on boards: interviews with German employee directors
We talk to employee and shareholder directors on German boards about company strategy, pay and unions
Bosses in Germany do not shy away from discussing challenging issues with their workforce. There is a structure in place that enables employees to make their voices heard - from works councils right up to representatives on the supervisory board that monitors the management. This enables the workforce to engage in vital debate about the company's strategy, jobs and pay. "My expertise is to tell the board what issues really touch the workforce and what they think," says Martina Klee, employee representative on Deutsche Bank's supervisory board. In recent years, employee directors have also initiated a discussion about executive pay with Volkswagen cutting its CEO pay by 20 per cent last year and Deutsche Bank imposing a pay cap.
Employee directors take part in investment discussions, asking what the staff can do to keep jobs in Germany. "It's not just about profit, there is a general understanding at VW that we don't shut plants: job security and profitability are the two goals of this company," says Hartmut Meine, union representative on the VW board.
Industrial democracy is well entrenched in Germany. With the economy emerging in better shape from the financial crisis than its European neighbours and Germany hosting many world-leading companies in key sectors, has the German system of employee involvement helped deliver this? This report talks to the employee directors themselves and tells the story of their involvement in their own words.
Since 1 January 2017 the average FTSE 100 CEO has earned:
Income inequality in the UK
Wealth inequality in the UK
- Full text of joint CIPD/HPC submission to UK BEIS department Feb 2017
This unprecedented joint submission signifies the importance of this moment: an opportunity to make meaningful, lasting reforms to executive pay and boardroom culture and practice
- Joint HPC/CIPD response to government corporate governance green paper
Reform of pay and governance structures matter to all employees. We are pleased to make a joint submission with the CIPD
- Fat Cat Wednesday 2017
Welcome back to work. FTSE100 bosses will have already clocked up an average annual UK salary by lunchtime today.