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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

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

Safe working conditions and safe production at B. Braun Melsungen AG

Sichere Arbeit und sichere Produktion bei B. Braun Melsungen AG

Country Germany , applies locally

    • – DE734 Kassel, Landkreis
Time period Open ended, started on 01 April 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Bipartite collective agreements
Category 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)

Background information

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.

Content of measure

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.

Use of measure

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.

Contents

  • Health and safety
  • Telework
  • Working time flexibility

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Company / Companies
Companies

Social partners

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:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A

Involvement

  1. This is a company-level initiative. Company management reached an agreement on working arrangements together with the company works council, which represents all employees.
  2. Social partners outside the company were not directly involved. Members of the works council are members of IG BCE.
  3. The employer bears the cost of measures.

Views and reactions

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.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      C - Manufacturing C21 Manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations

This case is not occupation-specific.

Sources

Citation

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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