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A few members of our current worker's council ("Betriebsrat") are leaving the company, so we'll need to find new candidates. I've discussed this topic with some of my colleagues and it seems like nobody really wants to do the part (including myself) but pretty much everyone agrees that someone should. Because of that I'm at least considering the idea of candidating.

I know about the short-term benefits of being in the workers' council (increased job protection etc.), but I'm not going to be in this company forever and I'm worried about the long-term consequences.

  • How do employers generally view candidates with worker's council experience?
  • Assuming a negative tendency, could I spin the experience as something positive?
  • Can I hide my involvement from a future employer?

For what it's worth, I'm working in an industry where having a worker's council is very rare.

  • Could someone please add relevant tags? I didn't find any that made sense. "Unions" came closest but this is not the same thing. – Llewellyn Aug 5 '17 at 17:42
  • @Dukeling In Germany, having one is always an advantage for the employees. A worker's council has many rights and can strongly influence management decisions. – Roland Aug 5 '17 at 18:23
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    Is this for a full-time position ("Freigestellter Betriebsrat") or just part-time? If it just part of your job I would say you can simply drop it from your CV and just stress the main job part. Of course, this is not as easily possible if you would be doing this full time. Maybe it would be a good idea to also ask these question the current members of the Betriebsrat and/or your local union (ver.di, IGM, whatever applies in your industry). – dirkk Aug 6 '17 at 10:04
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I would say, it depends on you career goals. For one, taking the additional responsibilities should reflect positively on your aptitude for a leading position. On the other hand, you spend less time concentrating on your normal area of work, so you´ll show less of a "Specialist" profile.

For bigger German companies, who are used to deal with a workers council this experience could be a plus. On the other hand, for small and dynamic startups, who don´t already have a workers council this could be off-putting.

I guess you can always just omit it on your CV if you think it gives you a better chance of getting hired. It was just an additional responsibility you took, not your actual job.

If you want to put a positive spin on your experience, focus on the valuable peoples-skills it will probably have taught you and on your motivation to do it. Empathise that you are not the "Unionist / workers rights advocate / Troublemaker" that your future bosses might see behind that role.

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