German Miners' Associations (1854-1923)
Review of an Old Social Welfare System
German miners' associations owed their establishment to the Prussian mining law reform in the middle of the 19th century. It was generally recognised that they partly served as a model for national labour insurance. In the 70 years of their existence, from 1854 to 1923, they developed a strong social welfare system and often set standards with their services and innovative facilities. But there was another side. Particularism led to the formation of small or tiny associations with an uncertain financial base. Struggles between employers and mining unions partly dominated the associations' own administration on equal terms. And the efforts of supervisory authorities aimed at merging them gradually produced the desired result. In 1913, there were still 111 miners' associations in Germany, but only a decade later - after the First World War and inflation - they were merged in the national miners' association. The essay outlines the history of German miners' associations throughout their existence in the second half of the 19th and the early 20th centuries.