Saturday 15 January 2022
Using Law Enforcement
Heil wants to facilitate the establishment of works councils
For fear of losing their jobs, many employees do not dare to report the obstruction of a works council. However, this could become unnecessary in the future. Because Minister Heil is planning a corresponding change in the law and wants to tighten criminal law for it.
Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil wants to make it easier for works councils to form by tightening criminal law, even in the face of employer resistance. The SPD politician told the “Augsburger Allgemeine” that the disruption or obstruction of the establishment of works councils should in future be prosecuted by the judiciary ex officio as a criminal offense even without a report being submitted. The legal basis should be changed accordingly.
The obstruction of the formation of a works council is already prohibited in the Works Constitution Act and will be prosecuted with a fine or imprisonment of up to one year. “In reality, however, we see again and again that people who want to set up works councils are harassed,” said Heil. “That’s why I will make sure that those who obstruct the establishment of works councils will soon have to deal with the public prosecutor.”
So far, according to Section 119 of the Works Constitution Act, obstructing works council elections is a so-called petition offense and can only be prosecuted at the request of employee representatives, unions or the company. “Many do not dare to report the obstruction of a works council for fear of losing their job,” Heil told the “Augsburger Allgemeine”.
In the future, it should therefore “suffice that a law enforcement agency has knowledge of such a process, they must then start investigations”. The SPD politician emphasized that it was about “effectively implementing existing law”. This applies in particular to jobs that are created as a result of digitization, for example in delivery services. Digitization should not be confused with exploitation.