REJEnerAXion Project - National Report (Germany)

This paper is part of the project “REJEnerAXion - Energy for a just and green recovery deal: the role of the industrial relations in the energy sector for a resilient Europe”, a European Union co-funded research project (101052341/SOCPL-2021-IND-REL) aimed at analyzing and strengthening the role of innovative industrial relations structures, including social dialogue, to respond in a socially fair and balanced way to the main challenges and opportunities offered by a clean-energy transition at national and European level.

Germany is actively engaged in an energy transition, moving towards a low-carbon economy by reducing its reliance on fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy. It has set a target to close or convert open-pit mining, lignite and hard coal-fired power plants by 2038 at the latest. However, it is crucial to emphasize that Germany's energy landscape is predominantly rooted in fossil energy sources, and lignite still plays a role in the economies of mining regions.

Therefore, this monumental shift carries profound implications for both the energy sector's workforce and regions directly affected by these changes. To address these challenges, a multitude of initiatives have emerged to support the transformations. Particularly noteworthy are the measures devised by the multi-stakeholder Commission on Growth, Structural Change, and Employment which play an important role in promoting a just energy transition.

In recent years, the trade unions and employers' associations within the fossil fuel industry have actively embraced the socio-ecological transformation. They often commit to the concept of "socially responsible redundancy," which prohibits compulsory layoffs and promotes retraining and transitioning to alternative employment opportunities. Furthermore, early retirement compensation remains of significant importance. Both social partners also advocate for the creation of new enterprises in regions adversely impacted by structural changes resulting from the energy transition