Industrial Development, Work and Employment Standards in the Automotive Supply Industry

Main content

Automotive suppliers significantly contribute to overall innovation and employment capacities of the German car industry. Being already highly globalized enterprises, they undergo processes of further transnationalization. Within the last decade, there emerged a well-functioning, fine-tuned division of labor between their German and Central Eastern European production sites. While the German side took over the tasks of high-tech production, coordination and innovation within the global production networks, the CEE locations developed into modern factories for standard products.

This successful model, however, is likely to face major upheavals in the near future. Recent developments like the stagnation on the European sales markets or the worldwide relocation of growth centers to the emerging economies as well as disruptive technological innovations are giving rise to changes in the automotive value chain. As a result, both the German and the CEE production sites are being put under increasing cost and relocation pressures.

The research project investigates the recent changes in the division of labor between automotive suppliers’ German and CEE production sites as well as the impact of these changes on work and employment standards. It relies on case studies of production sites in CEE and in Germany.

Specifically, the following questions will be investigated:

  • How does the division of labor between German high-wage and CEE low-wage locations in the automotive supplier industry develop?
  • How does this East-West division of labor influence the development of work and employment standards?
  • What are the prerequisites for successful development and implementation of uniform work and employment standards at the German and the CEE production sites?

Selected Publications

Krzywdzinski, Martin/Schröder, Axel (2017): Globale Rahmenvereinbarungen in der europäischen Automobilzulieferindustrie. WZB Discussion Paper SP III 2017-302. Berlin: WZB.
Krzywdzinski, Martin (2016): Technologie, Qualifikationen und internationale Arbeitsteilung. Anmerkungen zu der Diskussion über Industrie 4.0. WZB Discussion Paper SP III 2016-301. Berlin: WZB.