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Works council election at Porsche in Zuffenhausen invalid

A Porsche AG employee cleans the Porsche crest on a hood at the main plant in Zuffenhausen / Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa
A Porsche AG employee cleans the Porsche crest on a hood at the main plant in Zuffenhausen / Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa

There are some legal pitfalls in works council elections. The most recent election at Porsche has occupied the regional labor court. Now there is a decision.

The Baden-Württemberg State Labor Court has also declared the works council election at the Porsche car manufacturer's Zuffenhausen site in Stuttgart to be invalid. No election should have been held for such a composed body, said the presiding judge Heide Steer on Tuesday in Stuttgart. The collective agreements at the time of the election would not have allowed this. The court thus confirmed a decision from the first instance - but on different grounds.

The background to the conflict is that the Works Council in Zuffenhausen represents not only employees of Porsche AG and Porsche Logistik GmbH, but also employees of Porsche Dienstleistungs GmbH in Leipzig. The latter is responsible for the canteens, for example. According to the information provided, this extension is laid down in a collective agreement, among other things. In the opinion of the Regional Labor Court, however, all employers involved should have concluded such an agreement. According to Steer, this was not the case.

In the first instance, the Stuttgart Labor Court had argued more substantively: The almost 100 employees in Leipzig should not have been allowed to vote in the works council election because the law actually wanted local representation. At a distance of several hundred kilometers, support was not guaranteed, it was said at the time. Even the use of modern means of communication is no substitute for personal availability. Both Porsche and the Works Council appealed against the April 2023 decision. However, according to earlier statements, Porsche Dienstleistungs GmbH is to elect its own works council in future.

Several employees had contested the works council election of March 2022. They saw significant violations and argued, among other things, that seals were missing from the ballot boxes and that parts of the workforce had been informed at too short notice. The labor court had already seen no evidence for any of these points. The regional labor court did not see any either.

The latest decision is not yet legally binding. Until then, the existing works council will remain in office. The parties involved in the proceedings can lodge an appeal against the decision with the Federal Labor Court. A Porsche spokeswoman said after the announcement: "We are waiting for the written reasons and will then examine whether we will appeal. We remain convinced that the decision to cut the workforce was taken lawfully and in the interests of the workforce."

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