Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure DE-2020-14/1582 – measures in Germany
, applies locally
|Time period||Open ended, started on 01 April 2020|
|Type||Bipartite collective agreements|
Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Teleworking arrangements, remote working
|Author||Birgit Kraemer (Hans Boeckler Foundation) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||09 December 2020 (updated 29 January 2021)|
Government's pandemic responses created both opportunities and challenges for medical products and services company B. Braun Melsungen AG. As governments and private actors around the world started to purchase more medical products to avoid and treat infections with COVID-19, the company had to increase production in some product lines while preventing infections among employees and implementing government regulation with regards to social distancing. The company works council and management set up a crisis management team, drawing on experience gained during the SARS pandemic of 2002, and negotiated changes in working arrangements.
The company producing medical equipment had to satisfy higher demand from costumers and prevent infection hot spots among employees. Management and the works council agreed a package of measures aiming to simultaneously increase parts of the production and workers' safety. A new system of working in shifts enabled employees to reduce their number of contacts and maintain social distancing. The employer supports digital meetings and also recognises the results of digital works council meetings. The agreement also includes measures for a flexible organisation of work and for business travels. The measures are temporary and are constantly reviewed and amended in reflection of rapidly changing government regulations.
The measures helped protect workers health and ensure the production of medicine technology in times of increasing demand. In November 2020, the company works council received the prestigious German Works Council Award (Deutscher Betriebsrätepreis), which is awarded annually by German publisher Bund Verlag.
Employees in standard employment
||Applies to all businesses||Does not apply to citizens|
Company / Companies
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Role||Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative||No involvement|
|Form||Not applicable||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
The trade union IG BCE presented the company practices at B. Braun AG as a best-practice example to the jury of the German Works Councils Award in 2020.
|Economic area||Sector (NACE level 2)|
|C - Manufacturing||C21 Manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations|
This case is not occupation-specific.
Eurofound (2020), Safe working conditions and safe production at B. Braun Melsungen AG, measure DE-2020-14/1582 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/DE-2020-14_1582.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.