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Interim Manager Betriebsrat

Works Council:
Renegotiation of company agreements

Labour Relations: Successful cooperation with Works Councils 

It’s quite common for clients in the throes of operational changes to elicit the help of HR Interim Management. Often in Germany, measures for change are also subject to co-determination by Works Councils. Therefore, the form HR Management takes can go a long way in establishing favourable cooperation with employee representatives. Constructive dialogue with employee representatives is crucial for the successful implementation of corporate strategy. In many cases, Labour Relations cannot be shaped without a Works Council or a trade union. That is why key to stable Labour Relations is a good reputation with the social partner, as is a track record of involvement and trust.

What does Labor Relations mean?

Labour Relations is the professional management of relations with Works Councils and Trade Unions. There are many measures in which the Works Council has strong co-determination rights. It is up to Labour Relations to identify these rights early on and be proactive in their use. The interests of Works Councils can be at odds with the company's planning and can put them on a collision course with corporate decisions. Professional dialogue with the social partner is imperative. Without it, operational planning will sometimes not be implemented at all or only very slowly.

Labor relations as a success factor

My many years of experience in the area of Labour Relations put me in a strong position to devise any collaboration with Works Councils and Trade Unions in a professional manner. I’ve worked for companies from different sectors and of differing sizes. As an HR Manager, I know that constructive cooperation with Works Councils also always means that negotiations should in the first instance be aimed at reaching a consensus. Works Councils are elected by the workforce and have their rightful place in the company. Only with constructive involvement can the Works Council contribute to the success of the company.


This is what I offer as a Labour Relations Manager:

  • Support for the local Works Council or the general Works Council

  • Professional representation of interests vis-à-vis the group Works Council

  • Committee work in the European Works Council

  • A good reputation and excellent network with trade unions

  • Support for employee representatives on supervisory boards

  • The professional management of working conditions and Labour Relations 

Labour Relations: Achieving a resolution as the top priority of negotiation

The Works Constitution Act, by virtue of its structure and systematics, assumes that the social parties want to reach an agreement at operational level. This willingness to reach a consensus is all the more convincing to me because in Germany, under Section § 40 BetrVG, the employer must carry the costs of the Works Council's activities anyway. Works Councils are often excellently trained in Collective Labour Law and pride themselves in many years of experience to their name. However, this does not mean that the employer has to be at the mercy of this professionalism and a competent response can go a long way. As an expert in Labour Relations, I can do exactly that for your company: The legal basis that makes up the Works Council Constitution Act (Section § 40 BetrVG) is something I can handle with great proficiency.

» The Works Council Constitution Act is my daily tool. As a Labour Relations Manager, I’m in a position to deal with legal principles competently. «

Lars Schott, HR Manager

Interim Manager Labour Relations

Labor relations need practice

But it is not only knowledge of Labour Law that counts for successful Labour Relations Management. Practical experience i.e. in a wide range of companies can go a long way when working together with workers' representatives. As an HR Interim Manager, I’ve accompanied numerous companies in the area of Labour Relations and worked with different Works Councils. Dialogue with experienced Works Councils is something I’m well-versed in. I’m able to get on their wavelength to come to an agreement. 


Addressing issues & managing conflicts

Collaborating with Works Councils rarely occurs without conflicts. The decisive factor however, is how one deals with them. Consulting in restructuring has meant that I’ve experienced many conflicts and it has taught me what working together with "strong" Works Councils entails. I always communicate with Works Councils objectively and make sure that I make eye contact. In doing so, often the result translates in a de-escalation of dissent within the company after only a short time. 

Shaping Labour Relations proactively

Hiring an external Labour Relations Manager is a smart solution. It gives companies the opportunity to exercise important decision-making rights proactively instead of just reacting to Works Council initiatives. Through additional capacity building in Labour Relations Management, a proactive employment policy can be established where:

  • Company agreements are revised and renegotiated 

  • Action is taken in a focussed manner and within a set time frame

  • Important issues can be addressed proactively

  • Confrontational decisions are implemented 

  • Parties are brought to the table and reach agreement quickly 

Further information:

» My services: HR Management

» My services: HR Restructuring & Change Management

» My services: Merger & Acquistion

» Project example: Labor Relations Manager at a pharmaceutical company

» Project example: Labor Law Manager

» Project example: HR Manager Downsizing in the automotive sector

» Project example: Head of HR with focus on Merger & Acquisition

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