Union of Food-Enjoyment-Restaurants

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Food-Enjoyment-Restaurants Union
founding 1865
Seat Hamburg GermanyGermany
main emphasis labor union
Chair Guido Zeitler
Members 198,026 (2018)
Website www.ngg.net

The food-gourmet-restaurants union (NGG) is the oldest German union and one of the eight individual unions in the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB). One of the forerunner organizations of the NGG founded in 1949 is the General German Cigar Workers Association, which was founded in 1865 . Today the NGG has around 198,026 (115,121 male, 82,905 female) members. The chairman of the NGG is Guido Zeitler . The deputy chairpersons are Freddy Adjan and Claudia Tiedge.


The core task is to regulate the wage and working conditions of its members, i. H. For example, negotiating and concluding collective agreements on wages and salaries, working hours, the length of vacation and pension provision. This also includes organizational and financial support in the event of strikes. The NGG grants its members free legal protection.

The NGG wants to stand up for human rights and for the maintenance of peace in freedom, for social justice and the improvement of consumer and environmental protection. She wants to fight for the maintenance and expansion of the welfare state, for fair and healthy working conditions, against retirement at 67, against unbridled capital interests and against further deregulation of the financial and economic system. She fights against right-wing extremism and speaks out in favor of banning the NPD . The food-pleasure-restaurants union acts independently of companies, governments, political parties and denominations.

Industry sectors

The union represents the interests of employees, among other things

  • in the hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants, cafés, canteens, catering and system catering)
  • in the bakery industry (bakery and confectionery trade, bread industry)
  • in the meat industry and the butcher's trade (slaughterhouses and cattle yards, poultry slaughterhouses, delicatessen production)
  • in the fishing industry (also fish meal factories)
  • in the beverage industry (breweries, malt houses, mineral fountains, soft drinks, beverage wholesalers, liquor companies, yeast industry)
  • in the grain industry (milling industry, pasta factories, animal feed industry, starch industry, coffee roasters)
  • in housekeeping
  • in milk and fat processing companies (dairies, cheese factories, margarine industry, oil mill industry, fat melters)
  • in fruit and vegetable processing
  • in factories producing confectionery and long-life baked goods
  • in the tobacco industry (cigars, cigarettes, chewing tobacco and snuff)
  • in the sugar industry

The majority of the more than 3,000 collective agreements of the NGG are concluded directly with the respective companies (in-house collective agreement). The collective bargaining partners are also the respective employers 'associations (e.g. the German Brewers' Association), the guilds of the baker's and butcher's trade, regional member associations of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association ( DEHOGA ) and the Federal Association of System Gastronomy (BdS).


The union is an organization with democratic opinion and will-formation. The members determine the policy of the NGG: They elect delegates who represent their interests at the various organizational levels. The NGG has three organizational levels: the local regions, the state districts and - at the federal level - the head office based in Hamburg .

At regional level: NGG regions

At the regional level, every member can have a say in decisions, formulate applications or run for committees. The 52 NGG regions are direct contacts for the members on site. You look after the works councils and negotiate company wage agreements. They call meetings of members or delegates and meetings for works councils and shop stewards. They are responsible for trade union education and membership recruitment in their respective areas. Within their (regional) sphere of activity they are responsible for the promotion of women, senior and youth work and work together with the DGB district boards.

At the state level: NGG state districts

The five state districts (North, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria, Southwest and East) lead - together with the respective collective bargaining commissions - the collective bargaining at state level. They organize educational seminars and conferences, provide advisory work for the NGG regions and coordinate joint actions by networks, groups and regions. They influence the political decision-makers at the state level.

At the federal level: head office / main board

The NGG union is based in Hamburg . In addition to the head office, there is also the headquarters of the main board. The main board implements the resolutions of the trade union day and calls it up. It monitors compliance with the statutes and determines the political and collective bargaining guidelines of the NGG. Its members are elected by the trade union day, the highest decision-making body of the NGG. Members of the main board are the executive main board, the regional district chairmen, 20 honorary members from the companies of the organizational area of ​​the NGG and one honorary NGG member each from the Federal Women's Committee (female member) or the Federal Conference of Young NGG (member under 28 years of age) was determined.

The main executive board is the executive body of the main board. He represents the NGG internally and externally and is responsible for nationwide collective bargaining. It consists of a chairperson and two deputy chairpersons. Both genders must be represented.

At international level: EFFAT and IUF

The NGG union works with the respective European sister organizations. It is a member of the European Federation of Food, Agriculture & Tourism Trade Unions ( EFFAT ) and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF). The latter has around 3.5 million members from 120 countries with over 300 unions worldwide. Michaela Rosenberger, Chairwoman of the NGG, is Vice-President of EFFAT.

The highest decision-making body: the NGG trade union day

The trade union day is the highest decision-making body of the NGG union and takes place every five years. The delegates elected in the regions are entitled to vote. One delegate represents 1500 members of the NGG. The main board and three delegates from the ranks of the Junge NGG are also entitled to vote . Applications can be submitted by the regional and state district boards, the main board, the main committee, the state district conferences and the federal conferences and committees of the NGG groups of people (Young NGG, Federal Women's Committee). The NGG trade union convention has the task of receiving the activity reports from the main board, the main committee and the audit commission and relieving the main board. The delegates of the trade union day decide on the submitted applications and determine the trade union policy principles of the trade union NGG for the next five years. You choose or confirm and a. the members of the main executive board, the chairperson of the main committee and the voluntary group representatives (young NGG, women) for the main board.


1865 to 1918

Adolph von Elm

The history of the food-pleasure-restaurants union (NGG) goes back to the middle of the 19th century. In Leipzig on December 27, 1865 Pantheon of the General German Cigarrenarbeiter Club founded (CEO Friedrich Wilhelm Fritzsche ). The union of cigar workers was the first centrally organized, national union of the German labor movement and a direct predecessor organization of the NGG. The NGG is the second oldest German trade union after the education and science trade union, Landesverband Hamburg - Society of Friends of the Fatherland Schools and Education , founded in 1805.

The association of cigar workers was an attempt to defend oneself against the catastrophic working and living conditions. The production of cigars was done entirely by hand and in the vast majority of cases at home . Parents, children and one or two assistants worked under extremely poor conditions in the small work rooms - which were mostly both bedroom and living room. The raw materials for cigar production were obtained from manufacturers at excessive prices, and the finished cigars were later sold to them cheaply. By relocating the production facilities to the workers' homes, the manufacturers saved the costs of their own work rooms, heating and lighting. In addition, they could easily play off the homeworkers who acted independently of each other and thus keep wages down. The consequences were devastating: excessive working hours, no protection against illness and accidents, child labor and hunger were the norm.

Working in the publishing system or at home meant heavy economic dependency. At the same time, it offered workers a certain degree of personal freedom: during the actual work, the cigar makers were not controlled by the manufacturers. They could talk and debate freely with one another during their quiet, mechanical manual work. In many places the workers appointed so-called readers . The workers were entertained by reading from novels, political writings, and social democratic newspapers. Many cigar makers became politically interested and well-informed workers. In remembrance of this, the reader is today the official symbol of the NGG union. On July 10, 1885, the support association of German cigar sorters was founded. Adolph von Elm was elected managing director . In 1891 von Elm founded a productive cooperative, the tobacco workers' cooperative (TAG), of which he was managing director. With the 1909 annual financial statements, TAG 1910 was merged into the Großeinkaufs-Gesellschaft Deutscher Consumvereine mbH.

It was still some time before the other professions in the food and beverages sector followed the example of the cigar maker and formed a union. In the meantime, the organization of cigar makers continued to grow rapidly. By the end of 1878, over 8,000 members were organized in more than 100 locations, making the cigar makers the largest trade union organization for a long time. Bismarck's socialist law of 1878 abruptly slowed down the growing efforts for more co-determination and better working conditions through trade union associations. The Social Democratic Party and the first trade unions were banned. The work of the unions proceeded cautiously under the guise of so-called travel support associations . Constantly hindered by harassment from the authorities, first the brewers, coopers, bakers and cigar makers (1885), then the millers (1889) organized themselves. In 1890 the Socialist Law fell, although the harassment never really stopped in the German Empire, the unions were now able to act publicly again. In 1900, the employees in hotels, pubs and restaurants formed the Association of German Innkeepers . The Association of Butchers and Professional Associates followed in 1902. Different demands were made depending on the branch. The implementation of these requirements (e.g. after the introduction of a day off during the week, the limitation of daily working hours and compliance with basic occupational health and safety regulations) depended on the level of organization. The brewers' association was particularly strong. Unlike most other unions, their efforts are aimed at all, i. H. skilled and unskilled to organize workers. Word of the trade unions' successes got around; they became real mass movements. In 1890 just around 16,000 food and beverage workers were organized as free trade unions, in 1913 there were already more than 142,000.

1918 to 1933

As a result of the First World War, the monarchies in Germany were eliminated. With the Weimar Constitution , democratic structures were introduced. For the unions, the immediate post-war period was a period of rapid growth. From 1918 to 1920 the number of unionized workers in the food and beverages industry increased fourfold. Immediately after the end of the war, the trade unions concluded the working group agreement with the business associations . The unions were now accepted by employers as regular representatives of the workforce. Workers' committees (the forerunners of works councils) should be installed in all companies with more than 50 workers and the eight-hour day should be introduced across the board.

Disenchantment soon set in; the successes of the November Revolution were short-lived. Rising inflation and high unemployment weakened the unions. The organizations of the food and beverage industry also lost many of their members. The weakness of the trade unions - especially at the height of the global economic crisis in 1923 - was used by entrepreneurs. In many places collective agreements were terminated and the daily working hours increased again. The forerunner organizations of the NGG recognized that they had to work together to oppose the revitalized employers' side, as a merged industrial association, in order to be successful. In 1927, four individual trade unions, the Association of Food and Beverage Workers in Germany , the German Food and Beverage Workers Association , the Central Association of Butchers and Professional Associates in Germany and the Association of Coopers, Wine Buyers and Unworkers in Germany merged. The newly founded association of food and beverage workers had around 150,000 members in 1927. The independent unions of hotel, café and restaurant employees and tobacco workers saw no reason to join this association at that time.

1933 to 1945

As in other parts of German society, the trade unions also failed to take effective measures against the rise of the NSDAP . After the seizure of power of Hitler in 1933, the unions were increasingly pressured and very soon, on May 2, 1933, prohibited. The union houses of the NGG predecessor organizations were occupied and many officials were arrested. The work now continued under extremely difficult conditions underground. The so-called Mitropa group is an example of underground trade union work during the Nazi era. A number of Mitropa - waiters use their professional duties, in trains to headlines and news from Germany and from Germany to smuggle into it. In many places trade unionists from different professions worked closely together in the underground, some at the expense of prison sentences or their lives.

1945 to 1970

The joint effort against the National Socialist regime was one of the foundations for the creation of unified trade unions after 1945. Old structures had been destroyed, the importance of close cooperation - beyond the barriers of the professions and professional associations - had been clearly demonstrated. At the so-called Merger Association Day from May 24th to 26th, 1949 in Munich, the merger of the associations of the food and luxury food industry was decided. The associations of employees in hotels and restaurants and the tobacco industry have now also joined. The (unified) food-enjoyment-restaurants (NGG) union was founded. The area of ​​activity of the NGG was initially limited to the FRG ; in the Soviet occupation zone and the later GDR , its counterpart, the trade union for trade, food and enjoyment , was instrumentalized in party politics. The currency reform of 1948 was followed by the years of the economic miracle . Unemployment in the post-war years was reduced surprisingly quickly and production in all areas continued to increase. Because this was accompanied by a falling unemployment rate and almost full employment , the assertiveness of the trade unions increased significantly. In the 1950s and 60s, the NGG was able to achieve a number of improvements for the employees. The workers in the cigarette industry were the first to benefit from the new strength in many respects. For example, the NGG was able to enforce the 40-hour week in the cigarette industry - as the first branch in Germany at all - (1959).

1970 to 1990

From around 1970 the economic situation in Germany changed for the worse. In the course of the 1973 and 1978/79 oil crises in particular , economic growth in Germany collapsed and the unemployment rate rose considerably. Despite the poor conditions, the NGG was able to achieve a high point in collective bargaining policy in the mid-1970s : With the federal framework collective agreement in the brewing industry, the first uniform income collective agreement came into force in Germany on January 1, 1974. Against the background of the growing employment crisis, the NGG agreed various early retirement arrangements with employers in the early 1980s. Employees over the age of 58 should be given the opportunity to retire early with around 75 percent of their previous gross salary. Thanks to these regulations, many thousands of jobs could be filled, newly created or secured.

1990 to today and current issues

Since December 1, 1990, the food-gourmet-restaurants union has been representing employees from the associated industries throughout Germany. Raising wages in the east to the level of the old federal states continues to be one of the main goals of the NGG. In view of the expansion of temporary work, there is a demand for improved working conditions for temporary workers, i. H. after “equal pay for equal work”, right at the top of the NGG's agenda.

An increasing concentration has been observed in the food retail sector in recent years. A few large corporations share the market and thus put considerable pressure on suppliers. As a result, food prices in Germany are very low compared to other European countries. This has direct consequences for working conditions in the food industry in Germany and other countries. In many places, workers in the food industry are affected by dumping wages and poor working conditions. The rise in speculation in raw materials is also of great importance for the food industry in Germany. The NGG calls for a ban on speculation in food because it threatens the livelihoods of millions of people in less developed countries.

With the campaign for a statutory minimum wage, the NGG - together with other unions - tried to raise social awareness of the need for a statutory minimum wage. In order to put an end to wage dumping and the phenomenon of poor people through work , the fight for the introduction of a statutory minimum wage should remain a priority for the NGG. One of today's challenges is dealing with the competition for the cheapest production sites caused by globalization. For the trade unions the answer should be stronger cooperation and coordination with the European sister trade unions and the improvement of collective bargaining and trade union work in European works councils.

Chairwoman of the Food-Enjoyment-Restaurants Union


  • Buschak, Willy: From people who wanted to live like people. The history of the food-pleasure-restaurants union and its predecessors. Bund Verlag, 1985.
  • Articles of Association of the Food-Gourmet-Restaurants Union, valid from January 1, 2009.
  • Beate Schreiber, Hans-Christian Bresgott, Daniel König and Constanze Seifert: From Readers to Minimum Wages - The History of the NGG 1865 to 2015, published by the main board of the food-pleasure-restaurants union, Hamburg 2015, ISBN 978-3-89965-668- 8th
  • Burchard Bösche (Ed.): "1. We ask to sleep in beds ..." - materials and documents on the history of the NGG administrative office in Frankfurt, Norderstedt 2016, ISBN 978-3-7392-2219-6
  • Burchard Bösche : The festival is a meal - the meal is a festival , Norderstedt 2018, Books on Demand, ISBN 978-3-7460-7964-6 . In his biography the author, who for many years was union secretary and head of unit in the head office of the NGG, describes life and work in the union.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. NGG: History and Motives. Retrieved December 5, 2019 .
  2. DGB: DGB membership figures 2018. In: www.dgb.de. January 21, 2019, accessed January 21, 2019 .
  3. ^ [1] Website of the food-pleasure-restaurants union. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  4. Union of food-pleasure-restaurants: official statutes: https://www.ngg.net/unsere_ngg/ziel/satzung/satzung_2009.pdf Website of the union of food-pleasure-restaurants. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  5. Buschak Willy The history of the NGG union. In: einigkeit No. 9, 1990 special section: pp. 1–31.
  6. ^ Herbert Weber: Groceries: Möllenberg criticizes speculation. focus.de, April 24, 2008, accessed June 6, 2015 .
  7. Prevent social dumping. ngg.net, archived from the original on December 30, 2012 ; Retrieved June 6, 2015 .