Ontstaansgeschiedenis van de ondernemingsraden in België (1944-1949)

  • Wouter Dambre


The basis of Belgium's post-war social and economic reforms was the social-solidarity agreement (1944) between the trade-unions and the employers. This «historical  compromise» aimed at securing social security and a legal ground for the workers' co-management in the economic life, in exchange for social peace and aid in attaining a productivity-raise.
From 1945 till 1948 National Labour Conferences and Parliament discussed the matter, especially the introduction of Works Councils, which raised ideological resistance. The Socialists, favourable towards the Works Councils in undertakings, claimed economic and financial powers for them. The Catholic were in favour of co-management, cooperation between workers and employers and workers' co-responsibility. The
employers, fearing a restriction of their powers and a threat of collectivizing, were very suspicious.
An inter-catholic agreement between workers and employers allowed them to formulate a unanimous attitude towards the Works Councils.  A Socialist-Catholic compromise in Parliament resulted in the law on the organizing of the industry (20.IX.1948). This law reserved for the Works Councils a mainly advisory role in social matters. Their powers were very limited. Their composition was determined by cooperation and common
The first Works Councils-elections happened in 1950.

How to Cite:

Dambre, W., (1985) “Ontstaansgeschiedenis van de ondernemingsraden in België (1944-1949)”, Res Publica 27(1), 87-124. doi:

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Published on
30 Mar 1985
Peer Reviewed