Staff Council Report

"Lurching back to normality"

Christine Fischer - Chairwoman of the Staff Council

The Studierendenwerk staff council, which is elected for four years, had 10 members - seven active members and three substitute members. As of the cut-off date 31.12.2022, these were:
  • Christine Fischer / Chairperson, Landau
  • Sascha Spieß / Deputy Chairperson, Landau
  • Natascha Schlereth / Worms
  • Elke Jensch / Germersheim
  • Stefan Gadinger / Germersheim
  • Laila Wien / Landau
  • Beate Weinhold / Landau

Substitute members:
  • Kerstin Thon / Ludwigshafen
  • Sonja Wilker / Landau
  • Morris Staudt / Germersheim

Ms Fischer, how was the year 2022?
The fact that it was very difficult to find new colleagues on the labour market in 2022 has already been discussed several times in this work report. This is of course a negative effect for the Studierendenwerk. In the job interviews I attended, I could see time and again that our collective agreement for the federal states cannot provide the necessary answers to the wishes of our applicants. At the latest when it comes to workplace benefits in the job interview, I am repeatedly confronted with disappointed faces. In our opinion, something must be done quickly at the collective bargaining level, otherwise the Studierendenwerk will continue to lose ground as an attractive employer.

Nevertheless, the difficult staff situation had a positive side effect. We were able to convert the seasonal jobs in the university catering team into year-round jobs much faster than expected and retain them. This gives the colleagues concerned more job security and the Studierendenwerk a team that is easier to plan. This marked the end of the era of seasonal workers at Studierendenwerk 2022.

A second topic also turned out to be very important in 2022 - digitalisation and its impact on our working lives. Because - this much is clear - The ongoing digitalisation of our working lives is irreversible.
The pandemic has accelerated digitalisation in areas such as mobile working, home office and remote access to company data like a catalyst across the board. But what was born out of necessity in the last three years must already be seen as the status quo of working conditions today. Certainly, there is still some fine-tuning to be done and some questions left unanswered, but the direction is clear: mobile working is coming and we have to find solutions for it. That is why the staff council is and will continue to be involved in the service agreement on home office in 2023 and contribute its views. We are pleased that the management has set mobile working as a clear goal in this service agreement and are very happy to be involved.

Our goal is to work out a workable solution in which the wishes and rights of our colleagues are sufficiently heard.
To be honest, I can't remember ever being allowed or forced to accompany such a far-reaching development of the working environment during my time in service. Tomorrow's workplaces will be very different from what we used to think of as "normal".

Have there already been concrete digitisation projects?
Yes! In 2022, we accompanied a digitalisation project that had already been implemented. In the introduction of new working methods in the digital monitoring of our HACCP protocol (Translated roughly: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) in university catering, the staff council held many discussions with employees. The focus was always on the question of how digitalisation benefits everyone, the employees and the employer. In essence, the project has made the work of hygiene documentation and monitoring much faster and more effective, creating a real win-win situation.

Did the work go easily in 2022?
The staff council - like the whole team - was a victim of the post-pandemic flu epidemic, but for the most part was able to compensate somehow. In our opinion, however, the working conditions in the container kitchen in our Landau canteen were very stressful, which also manifested itself in increased sick leave. The juggling of workers in order to keep the branch offices open was very difficult and exhausting, both for us in discussions with the people concerned and for the management staff of the refectory. The weakness of the labour market for temporary catering staff was particularly noticeable here and there was little relief to be found for our team on the labour market. 2022 was probably our most important working tool, which was not very satisfying.

We therefore welcome the creation of a new position in the team, which was filled in November 2022, and which is dedicated in greater depth to the topics of occupational safety, health protection, health care and occupational integration management. A good sign for an improvement of the work situation for the employees.

What else was important?
Of course, according to the Staff Representation Act, we were entrusted with a wide range of tasks in staff council work and were responsible for ensuring that the legal provisions in the workplace were also adhered to in the interests of the employees. We also participated in the meetings of the Studierendenwerk's administrative council as a voting member of our central body. It was pleasing that we were always able to cooperate with the management on an equal footing and that the exchange was always fruitful.

In the area of occupational health and safety, we have very concrete results to show. In the last quarterly meeting on 8 July 2022, it was jointly decided to increase the employer's contribution for the purchase of safety shoes from 54.14 euros to 65.00 euros due to the general price increase. This adjustment was effective immediately and is relevant for all departments where the wearing of safety shoes is required.

But we also did something for ourselves as a staff council:
2022 we were able to successfully complete the second part of the in-house training of the staff council with the topic LPersVG (Land Staff Representation Act) and are now up to date again. This is of great benefit to our colleagues in the consultation process. The deputy chairperson of the staff council has also brought himself up to date on the law on grouping. In addition, we are constantly exchanging information with our colleagues on the staff council in other student unions and evaluate trade journals and the internet on our topics.

What would be a wish of the staff council for the future?
For me it's quite simple. We need a much more modern collective agreement for the federal states that takes more account of the current situation on the labour market and that also enables the Studierendenwerk to develop as a modern employer on an equal footing with the competition. Otherwise it will become increasingly difficult for us to become or remain an attractive employer.

Your contact person for the area
Christine Fischer
Chairperson of the Staff Council
Xylanderstrasse 17
76829 Landau
Tel.: +49 6341 9179 430