Horst Schmitthenner

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Horst Schmitthenner (born July 4, 1941 in Siegen , Westphalia ) is a German trade unionist. From 1989 to 2003 he was on the board of the metal industry union (IG Metall). Before that he was the first authorized representative of IG Metall in Neuwied .


Schmitthenner, son of a carpenter, completed an apprenticeship as a machine fitter after elementary school from 1956–1964, then used the opportunities offered by the second educational path ( Hessenkolleg ) in 1969 Abitur . Then studied sociology at the universities of Frankfurt am Main and Marburg . 1977 graduated with a diploma in sociology.

Trade unionists

Horst Schmitthenner has been a member of IG Metall since 1956 and joined the SPD in 1958 . From 1964 to 1966 he was assistant in the house of the union youth, Oberursel , Heimvolkshochschule Falkenstein ; Volunteer at the Frankfurter Bund für Volksbildung . In 1985 he became the first authorized representative of the IG Metall administrative office in Neuwied. At the trade union day of IG Metall in October 1989 in Berlin, he ran for the board of his union, somewhat surprisingly. He justified his candidacy by saying that he wanted to bring more discussion and criticism to the board. He also recommended himself as a "lateral thinker" whom IG Metall chairman Steinkühler could "rub" himself against. This happened against the will of the then chairman Franz Steinkühler . He made Horst Schmitthenner responsible for IG Metall's social policy. It was meant as a punishment rather than a reward. Social policy was a field of policy that traditionally was not the focus of attention and recognition from IG Metall. But that should change soon. It is probably not an exaggeration that under the political leadership of Horst Schmitthenner, IG Metall gained a socio-political profile and that he knew how to use the socio-political conflicts to raise his profile. Other functions: from 1990 to 2002 member of the administrative board of the Federal Employment Agency, since 1993 deputy chairman of the supervisory board of Salzgitter AG , since 1995 honorary judge at the Federal Labor Court (3rd Senate) and from 2000 to 2002 member of the board of the Federal Employment Agency . After leaving the board, he headed the social movements liaison office on the IG-Metall board for a few years in order to maintain contact with parties and groups for the union. He is on the board of the association for trade union unemployment work

Social policy

He sets new accents and gradually established - fighting against internal and external resistance - a new style in the labor market and social policy of IG Metall. This related to the content and the strategic direction of politics. Linking self-administration activities back to the socio-political positions of IG Metall is a requirement that everyone involved has to face. Working groups and advisory committees were initiated to work together on solutions. The consequence was a gradual politicization of the representation of interests and a further development of the social insurance policy to the trade union social policy.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hans-Jürgen Urban : The political mandate as a guideline . Supplement to the journal Sozialismus 7–8 / 2016, ISBN 978-3-89965-870-5 , p. 31.
  2. Hans-Jürgen Urban / Christoph Ehlscheid: Social policy as social policy . Supplement to the journal Sozialismus 7–8 / 2016, ISBN 978-3-89965-870-5 , p. 2.