The Works Councils in Czechoslovakia 1945–1949. Remarks on the Fate of a Social Movement in the Process of Transformation
After six years of German occupation and terror, the intention to build a totally new political entity in Czechoslovakia was not just limited to the creation of a homogenous national state of the Czechs and Slovaks by the forced evacuation of Germans and Hungarians. The vision was to build an ‘economic and social democracy’, a completely new political system that the bourgeois-liberal democracyshould be transformed into. For this purpose, employee participation would have to be much higher than ever before. The programme of the first Czechoslovak government, dated 5 April 1945, stipulated that all employees ‘in factories, workshops and offices’ could freely choose their representatives in trade union organisations and works councils. These two organisations were to be the ‘legal representatives of the employees towards private entrepreneurs and public authorities in all questions of wages, labour and social policy’. This corresponded with the widespread demand for citizens to participate as widely as possible in the administration of public affairs.