Event Reports

Approaches to the Labour Market and Employment

UK and Germany: Contrasts and Similarities

The third and final event in our series for 2014 focussed on the different approaches adopted in the UK and Germany to the labour market.

The UK has traditionally been associated with a liberal, market-oriented approach that emphasises flexibility in employment and downplays the role of unionisation and collective bargaining. German policy indicates a different approach, with one example being the stakeholder model of corporate governance that emphasises works councils and job security over hire and fire flexibility. The Hartz IV reforms of 2003 were, however, acknowledged as a move away from this position. With both economies responding to the global financial crisis with arguments emphasising competitiveness, there are a number of questions to ask with regards to how labour markets will be structured in the future.

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Following presentations from all members of the panel, there was a fiery debate with the audience that took in a number of relevant themes. Amongst the most prominent issues were the role of the state and the attitude towards work in the public sector, the approach to labour market flexibility, and the role of minimum wage legislation.