From theory to practice: Excursions to Caterpillar and IG Metall

Jul 09, 2019

As part of the seminar ‚The Globalization of Work' led by Anne Metten, students made excursions to Caterpillar in Friedrichsort and IG Metall Kiel-Neumünster. At the center of the seminar were processes and changes in the world of work, which can be ascribed to globalization in the broadest sense. Such as flexibilization, precarization, digitalization and automation, migration, wage differentiation and value chains. Through the excursions, students were given the opportunity to transfer the topics of the seminar to practice and to discuss with experts who are faced with globalization-specific challenges and opportunities in their immediate work reality.
After an exciting tour through the engine casting facility by colleagues of the works council and trainees, the seminar group was able to adress their questions to Ralf Böhm, the second chairman of the works council of Caterpillar Castings GmbH. All in all, in his work and in the Friedrichsort plant, he sees globalization as an opportunity, but points out that it must be socially flanked. Also present was Robert Peter, youth secretary of the IG Metall Kiel-Neumünster, who embedded these connections in the tariff and operational work of the union as well and the seminar group could meet him again during the second excursion.
At this second external meeting, after a guided tour through the union building in Kiel, the students were able to discuss issues of globalization at an supra-company level with Robert Peter and the first chairwoman if the IG Metall Kiel-Neumünster, Stephanie Schmoliner. Both gave interesting insights into their work and telling answers to the questions asked. It was particularly impressive to learn how workers and thus also the trade union representing them negotiate certain globalization-specific developments in their working world. The basically more theoretical approach to the topics in the seminar could be wonderfully complemented by practical insights and thus made these tangible in a way.