Advance: Heil wants to facilitate the establishment of works councils with criminal prosecution

Hubertus Heil (SPD), Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, wants to facilitate the establishment of works councils.
Image: dpa

For fear of losing their jobs, many did not dare to report the obstruction of the formation of a works council, according to the minister. Therefore, in the future, the authorities should be able to investigate suspicions.

BFederal 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 newspaper 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 complaint being filed.

Disability is already prohibited in the Works Constitution Act and is punishable by 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 has been 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,” said Heil. “In the future, it will therefore be sufficient for a law enforcement agency to be aware of such a process. Then she has to start an investigation. We will change the law accordingly.”

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