Ursula Weidenfeld paints a one-sided and negative picture of co-determination (“Beware of imitating the German model, Mrs May”, July 13). As an essential part of the social market economy model, it has served Germany incredibly well after the war and is supported overwhelmingly by business. In particular, Ms Weidenfeld’s assertion that it hinders innovation couldn’t be further from the truth — just look at Siemens, Bosch or the car industry, and the leading position Germany holds with patent applications.
Apart from the obvious advantage of communicating with your workforce, co-determination also acts as a safeguard against the kind of takeovers that are for the benefit of shareholders and management only. It forces companies into long-term thinking and more concern for market share than for short-term profit maximisation, with the survival and wellbeing of the company being paramount goals.
Clearly Theresa May will have huge opposition to backing something like a stakeholder model, as Tony Blair experienced when he made his famous speech in Singapore in January 1996. Rupert Murdoch stopped him in his tracks. The first salvos have already been fired.
London SW1, UK
Vice-President, German British Chamber of Industry & Commerce; Chairman, German British Forum