Competence and Innovation
Advancement of dynamic practise-science-relations to design work-qualification-innovation
The aim of the project Competence and Innovation, carried out by the German metal worker union (IG Metall), is to stimulate the direct dialogue between works councils and researchers and in order to enable works councils to meet the demands of their changing role at the workplace level. The project is financed by the federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the European Union (European Social Fund). The focus of the project is to search for (new) ways to preserve jobs and good labour conditions in the industry and related services.
The ongoing restructuring of the German economy affects employment, working conditions of employees and the system of industrial relations. On the one hand firms compete by applying rigid cost cutting strategies. On the other hand, research and case studies of factories/ companies show that innovative firms are not only more competitive but also have higher employment levels.
Works councils can play an important role in supporting innovative and worker-oriented strategies instead of pure cost cutting. However, works councils need new qualifications, competences and strategies to meet these demands. What are the innovative strategies that develop and secure employment in the manufacturing economy? How can works councils support such strategies?
The IG Metall in the German regions Northrine-Westfalia and in Baden-Württemberg is looking for answers together with researchers and works councils. The meta issue is how to pursue innovation with a positive impact on competitiveness and employment. Fields of action are for example the change of employment systems by outsourcing/offshoring strategies or the use of temporary agency work, the change of production systems and the demographic change.
These fields are defined by works councils. The practise-research-dialogue aims at improving the competences of works councils but also at reaching perceptible improvements within the participating firms.