< < <
Date Index
> > >
Equal pay for work of equal value (the case of Zwangsarbeiter)
by g kohler
07 October 2003 22:56 UTC
< < <
Thread Index
> > >
Equal pay for work of equal value (the case of Zwangsarbeiter)

For people who share an interest in the principle of "equal pay for work of
equal value" and its *globalized* form of "equal pay for work of equal value
*irrespective of country*" [there is a section on this in Kohler/Tausch,
Global Keynesianism] --

The principle of "equal pay for equal work" is an old socialist demand, and
the principle of "equal pay for work of equal value" is a demand of the
North American women's movement. Here is a pertinent legal precedent of some
importance. I found that while reading about recent German politics, namely:

In recent years, a settlement was reached between representatives of people
who were forced to work, during World War II, in German factories in
subhuman conditions as forced foreign labour ("Zwangsarbeiter") and, on the
other side, representatives of various German companies and the state. The
settlement was in the form of a pool of money financed by various German
companies and distributed to various forced labourers who are still alive.

I do not know the finer details about this, but I believe there were
discussions about two kinds of payments, namely, (1) payment of fair wages,
(2) payment as compensation for suffering and pain. Apparently, the
difficult part of the negotiations was #2, while No. 1 (paying fair wages
with 50 years interest) was relatively easy to agree on. In this part of the
negotiations the principle was accepted that the wage of a forced labourer
must be the same as the wage of a non-forced labourer for the same work
(e.g., in agriculture, in munitions factories, and so on). (Wages for
non-forced workers in 1943 etc. were easy to obtain for different categories
of work.)

In my opinion that is an important legal precedent that deserves publicity.
It supports both the general principle of "equal pay for work of equal
 value" (irrespective of nationality) and can even be applied to
contemporary prison labour around the world.

(N.B. this can be considered a world-system issue insofar as the global wage
structure is an important part of the contemporary world(-)system.)

Gernot Köhler

< < <
Date Index
> > >
World Systems Network List Archives
at CSF
Subscribe to World Systems Network < < <
Thread Index
> > >