Germany’s employment model is under attack, as mass closures and cost-cutting businesses make once-stable engineering jobs ever more precarious. Some trade unionists have turned to worker buyouts as a means of saving jobs — a move that hands workers more control of their situation, but also brings dangers of its own.
David O’Connell is a doctoral student at the University of Kassel and a member of the IG Metall union.
In postwar Germany, a cooperative run by trade unionists created Europe’s largest housing company. Building over 400,000 homes, “Neue Heimat” showed we don’t have to live on the terms dictated by landlords — we can take control for ourselves.