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This Federation, the DGB, is an umbrella association consisting of the following 16 individual unions organized by industry:

IG Bau, Steine, Erden (Union of Construction and Quarrying Industries)

IG Bergbau und Energie (Union of Mining and Energy Industries)

IG Chemie, Papier, Keramik (Union of Chemical, Paper and Ceramics Industries)

Gewerkschaft der Eisenbahner Deutschlands (German Railways Union)

Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (Education and Science Union)

Gewerkschaft Gartenbau, Land- und Forstwirtschaft (Horticulture, Agriculture and Forestry Union)

Gewerkschaft Handel, Banken und Versicherungen (Commerce, Banking and Insurance Union)

Gewerkschaft Holz und Kunststoff (Timber and Plastics Union)

Gewerkschaft Leder (Leather Union)

IG Medien - Druck und Papier, Publizistik und Kunst (Union of the Media Industries - Printing and Paper, Publishing and Design)

IG Metall (Metal Industry Union)

Gewerkschaft Nahrung, Genuss, Gaststätten (Food, Drink and Tobacco and Catering Union)

Gewerkschaft öffentliche Dienste, Transport und Verkehr (Public Services, Transport and Traffic Union

Gewerkschaft der Polizei (Police Union)

Deutsche Postgewerkschaft (German Post and Telecommunications Union)

Gewerkschaft Textil, Bekleidung (Textiles and Clothing Union)

Their combined membership is at present around 12 million, constituting a good third of the total employed labour force and about 80 per cent. of all unionized employees. More than a quarter of all members are women. The membership strength of the individual unions in their respective industries varies widely. The Metal Industry Union (IG Metall) is by far the strongest, with around 3.6 million members. The Federation is structured into Land associations, which in turn have district and local branches. The Federal Executive Board has its headquarters in Düsseldorf.

In 1989, in the German Democratic Republic the member associations of the "Freier Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund" (FDGB, the Confederation of Free German Trade Unions) had a total of 9.6 million members. With the accession of the German Democratic Republic to the area of application of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany, during the year 1990 the FDGB itself and also its member organizations were disbanded.

Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.

Page last updated: 14 August, 2009