Motion: Joint Commissions Should Disclose Cash Flows



If the demand for more transparency is not supported by the left for once

The majority in Parliament wants the joint committees for collective labor agreements to publish their annual reports in future. This should put an end to the “particular economic model of trade unions”. The Greens and the SP find this superfluous.

Parifonds Bau ensures compliance with the collective labor agreement in the main construction trades.

Image: Manuela Jans-Koch (Stans, May 19, 2022)

For once, the demand for more transparency comes from the bourgeois side: in a motion, the majority of the National Council’s economic commission demands that the so-called “joint commissions of collective labor agreements declared binding” disclose their reports. annually in the future. They are intended to show how the sums collected from employers and employees are used. The National Council approved the motion last fall and the Council of States will discuss the request on Wednesday.

To explain: joint committees are generally organized in the form of associations. They are made up of representatives of employers and employees from a given sector. The tasks of these commissions sometimes consist in checking whether the collective labor agreement of the branch is respected. In the event of violations, reports are sent to the responsible authorities. In addition, the joint committees undertake to promote professional and continuing training.

“Union economic model”

Central Member of the Council of States Othmar Reichmuth of the Canton of Schwyz.

Central Member of the Council of States Othmar Reichmuth of the Canton of Schwyz.

Image: Keystone

According to States Councilor Othmar Reichmuth (Mitte/SZ), the reason for the motion is “that practices have crept in in recent years that no longer have much to do with the allocation of funds”. The trade unions benefit, among other things, from financial subsidies from the joint committee fund. For example, in the form of compensation for the administrative work involved in reimbursing the workers for a large part of the union dues from the fund.

“To me, this clearly looks like a trade union business model that certainly does not fit the spirit and purpose of joint committees,” Reichmuth says. He makes this observation, for example, in the construction industry. It is therefore important that in future everyone can see how the capital of the funds of the joint commissions is managed and what it is used for. “It’s the only way to check whether the funds are being used wisely,” adviser Reichmuth says.

Unions do not expect major changes

The unions are not resisting the motion, as Unia’s Christian Capacoel says. However, this approach is open to the public: “Interested persons can already consult the annual reports of the joint committees via the Public Disclosure Act. Many already publish their annual reports voluntarily. Therefore, even after the motion is accepted, little will change in practice, according to Capacoel. He also rejects the accusation that the unions enrich themselves illegally thanks to the fund: “The statutes of the joint committees specify exactly what the contributions are used for. And there are control mechanisms that ensure correct use.

National Environmental Councilor Franziska Ryser from the canton of St. Gallen.

National Environmental Councilor Franziska Ryser from the canton of St. Gallen.

Image: Keystone

Both the Federal Council and the PS and the Greens qualify the motion as unnecessary regulation. “It would have no effect because the commissions can already disclose their accounts today,” said National Councilor Franziska Ryser (Greens / SG). His party also advocates transparency and demands it. But: “You don’t need a law for that. Associations of employers and employees can decide independently on the obligation to disclose annual reports.” Far more Ryser suspects that the initiative will create a mood against social partnership.

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