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Article - Alliance for the "Future of Industry"

Joining forces to strengthen German industry

Introduction

We need to work together to reshape our industrial policy so that our industry will remain the strong core of the German economy in future. This is what the Alliance for the “Future of Industry” is about. It brings together partners from trade unions, industrial and employers’ associations, the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Since 2015, 17 partners from trade unions, business and employer associations, the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy have been working together in the Alliance for the “Future of Industry” (hereinafter called the Alliance). Their common goal is to modernise Germany as a centre for industry, increase public acceptance of industry and strengthen Germany's industrial competitiveness. It uses its social partnership structure in particular to strengthen Germany’s position as a centre for industry and to create and safeguard jobs for the future. The Alliance is therefore a central dialogue body for industrial policy issues.

Focussing on the importance of industry

Our industry is an essential guarantor for growth, prosperity and jobs. In Germany, seven million employees who are subject to social insurance contributions work in around 100,000 industrial companies. There are also many industrial service providers. Those employed in the manufacturing industry generate a good fifth of the total gross value added and 85% of goods exports. Furthermore, industry pays the lion’s share of the money spent on research and development. Germany’s innovative industrial enterprises are leaders on resource efficiency and therefore make an important contribution towards protecting the environment and combating climate change.

Tackling new challenges

However, the industry is facing major technological and political challenges (including digitalisation, platform economy, globalisation, climate change mitigation, strategically and state-guided industrial policies of other countries, trade policy). The Alliance wishes to seize the opportunities of change, strengthen industrial output in Germany and expand the international competitiveness of industry. The Alliance has therefore also participated in a structured dialogue, the results of which have been incorporated into the revised Industrial Strategy 2030.

The Alliance for the “Future of Industry” brings together central industrial policy expertise at national level and ensures a better coordination of industrial policy interests.

Four figures which illustrate the importance of industry

7
Symbolicon für Menschen

million
employees subject to compulsory insurance, for a functioning welfare system

1.8
Symbolicon für Geld

billion in turnover
for secure wages and salaries

61.6
Symbolicon für Mikroskop

billion euros
spending on research and development

67,000
Symbolicon für Urkunde

patent applications
for innovations which improve our lives

The Partners

A strong alliance for German industry

The Alliance has been working on the future of German industry since March 2015. It was initiated by the Economic Affairs Ministry, the Federation of German Industries, and the German Metalworkers’ Union (IG Metall).

The following 17 partners work together in the Alliance: the Federation of German Industries (BDI), The Metalworkers’ Union (IG Metall), the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI), the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI), the Federation of the German Construction Industry (HDB), the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA), the Federation of German Employers' Associations in the Metal and Electrical Engineering Industries (Gesamtmetall), the German Chemical Industry Employers' Association (BAVC), the Association of Steel Producers (WV Stahl), the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), and on the trade union side the German Trade Union Federation (DGB), the Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union (IG BCE), the Trade Union for Construction, Agriculture, and the Environment (IG BAU), and the Food, Beverages and Catering Union (NGG) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Woman

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A modern industrial policy

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Modus operandi

How does the Alliance work?

The tripartite alliance with a focus on industrial policy came together in 2015. The common goal was to make Germany a modern centre for industry in the long term and to strengthen its industrial competitiveness. To achieve this, the Alliance worked in groups to develop common industrial policy guidelines, recommendations for action and sets of measures.

In order to provide operational support for the work of the Alliance, the Future of Industry network was set up in early June 2015. The management of the association is based on equal representation of employers and employees (BDI and IG Metall). The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has the status of a guest. Further information on the Future of Industry network can be found at www.n3tzwerk.org (in German).

The coalition agreement for the 2018-2021 legislative period of the CDU/CSU and SPD provides for the continuation of the work of the Alliance: “We want to continue the “Future of Industry” Alliance and the sector dialogues in order to continue our discussions and coordination of essential industrial policy issues with the social partners, science and society.” (cf. coalition agreement, page 57)

The intensive exchange of ideas between politicians, business and trade unions is of central importance for the success of industrial policy. The Alliance points out how we can sustainably strengthen the competitiveness of industry in Germany. A major success of the Alliance is the creation of networks that go beyond existing boundaries between employers and employees. The Alliance therefore functions as an umbrella for various initiatives (for example for industry dialogues/conversations, platforms, forums) that are already being led by politicians, business associations and trade unions.

Regular meetings between the Board members of the Association and the Federal Economic Affairs Ministry serve as a form of political exchange.

industrie 4.0

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Industrie 4.0

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Activities

Alliance activities

Numerous activities have taken place since the foundation of the Alliance. Many events like industry conferences, the Industry Week etc. have been organised. There has also been an industry acceptance campaign, publications, and studies on industry acceptance and social dialogue on the future of industry.

Industry conferences

The first industry conference of the Federal Economic Affairs Ministry in cooperation with the partners of the Alliance was held in 2016 at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in Berlin. Its slogan was “Future prospects for Industry 2030” and it gathered more than 300 participants. In 2017, Berlin hosted the second international industry conference with around 450 participants.

Industry Conference 2019

On 24 September 2019, the third industry conference was held at Motorwerk Berlin. It focussed on Germany and gathered nearly 400 participants.

 

Industry Week

The first Federal Industry Week took place in 2016. The aim was to jointly promote the future of German Industry and to work to ensure that Germany can remain a modern, innovative and sustainable industrialised country.

The second Industry Week, entitled “Youth and Industry”, took place from 9 to 24 September 2019. The “Future Day”, which was organised by the Alliance partners (under the leadership of IG Metall and BDI), marked the start of the Industry Week. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy hosted the Industry Conference as the final event. In 2019, more than 170 events with tens of thousands of visitors took place under the umbrella of the Industry Week.

All Alliance partners used social media to promote the Industry Week (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, #industrieverbindet). The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy took on the task of designing a communication concept. The aim was to introduce industry to young people.

A “Service and Consultation Centre for regional industry dialogues”

In 2017, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy commissioned the project “Social dialogue on the Future of Industry” in order to promote industrial dialogue in the regions, too. Indstry dialogues have been initiated, supported and accopmanied in six model regions. A different project is now to expand the scope of these industrial dialogues. Findings and dialogue formats are to be rolled out across Germany.

To this end, a “Service and Consultation Centre for regional industrial initiatives” is to be planned, set up and put into operation. On 23 December 2019 the Federal Economic Affairs Ministry opened a tender for a service contract with a term of 24 months.

The “Service and Consultation Centre” is intended to act as contact centre for industrial policy players in the regions who have any concerns or questions and is supposed to improve coordination between the Federal Government, the Länder and the different initiatives. Moreover, it is to support existing regional industry initiatives and consolidate and connect the communication between regional industry initiatives, the Alliance for a “Future of Industry” and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The centre is scheduled to be operational in 2020.

Further information

  • Article - Sectors of industry

    Article: Economic Affairs Ministry organises sectoral dialogues

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