chapter  Twelve
Labour Conflicts and Class Struggles
WithWalther Mueller-Jentsch
Pages 23

Labour researchers and industrial sociologists discovered the so-called "motivation crisis", which soon became a fashionable theme and helped stimulate the debate on the "humanisation of work life". The dualstructureofrepresentation dating back to the Weimar Republic separates the sectoral collective bargaining system from plant-level interest representation. As a result the conflict between capital and labour occurs in two different "arenas", thus preventing a possible accumulation of conflict potential. In the language of systems theory "functional differentiation" is present here, based on the heterogeneity of interests, actors, and regulations, which facilitates the encapsulation and reduction of conflicts. The high level of organisation and the concentrated sanctioning power of West German employers made direct state intervention in labour conflicts, as practiced for years with mixed success in Britain, superfluous. The unequal distribution of unemployment and the removal of "problem groups" from the labour market have certainly served to blunt the effect of the on-going employment crisis.