Work Order Act

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The Work Order Act (German: Arbeitsordnungsgesetz - officially Gesetz zur Ordnung der nationalen Arbeit) of 20 January 1934 was the basis for labour relations in Nazi Germany.

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After the trade unions had been prohibited after May Day 1933, the Nazi controlled government was under pressure to ease working conditions and improve industrial relations. This was first attempted by establishing the position of a Trustee of Labour, who was tasked with fixing minimum wages and overcoming class tensions in businesses and companies. With the Labour organization law owners and managers became “factory leaders” and responsible not only for the successful operation of the businesses and companies but also for the well-being of their “followers” (i.e. employees), thus replicating the concept of national community within individual business entities. The law also mandated the formation of Councils of Trust in businesses and companies with more than 20 employees, which were headed by the “factory leader” while the other members were elected from a list set up by the “factory leader” and the German Labour Front overseer (Betriebsobmann).

The position of the trustee of Labour was further expanded, as the law gave them the power to directly intervene in the affairs of individual businesses and companies. A court of honour was set up under each trustee, which was empowered to relieve factory leaders in case of serious misconduct or breaches of trust.[1]

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  1. ^ Monika Herrmann: Enzyklopädie des Nationalsozialismus, s.v. Arbeitsordnungsgesetz, p. 949

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