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Stinnes-Legien Agreement (November 15, 1918)

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The major employers' associations and the trade unions agree on the following points:

1. The trade unions will be recognized as the elected representatives of the workforce.

2. There can be no restriction on the freedom of workers, either male or female, to unionize.

3. The employers and the employers' associations will terminate all direct and indirect support for company unions (the so called economically-friendly unions).

4. All workers returning from military service have the right to immediate reinstatement to the job they had before the war. The employers' associations and the trade unions will cooperate in obtaining the raw materials and work orders needed to fully honor this pledge.

5. Joint supervision and control of the employment records.

6. Working conditions for all male and female workers will be regulated in each trade through collective agreements with the relevant workers' unions. Negotiations on this are to begin immediately and be concluded promptly.

7. Every factory with a labor force of at least 50 will elect a workers' committee to represent the labor force and to work with the factory owner to ensure that factory conditions correspond with the collective agreement.

8. Collective agreements are to create arbitration boards made up of an equal number of representatives of employers and workers.

9. The maximum length of the work day in all industries is set at 8 hours. No reduction in earnings may result from this reduction in work hours.

10. A central committee made up of an equal number of representatives of employers and workers from each trade will implement this agreement. It will also adopt further measures that may prove necessary for supervising the demobilization, maintaining economic life, and guaranteeing the living standard of workers, especially those wounded in the war.

11. This central committee will also be responsible for deciding on fundamental questions concerning the collective regulation of wage levels and working conditions, and it will arbitrate labor disputes that affect several industries at once. Its decisions will be binding on both employers and workers, provided that they are not challenged, within one week’s time, by any of the professional associations concerned.

12. These agreements take effect on the day of their signing and, unless they are replaced by another law, will remain in effect with a three-month cancellation period until further notice.

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