The German parliament on Thursday voted to reintroduce rules requiring those founding businesses in certain trade sectors to have gained the qualification of “Meister” or “master craftsperson.”
The requirement had been relaxed for 53 of 94 recognized branches of trade under the Social Democrat-Green government of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in 2004.
The move was made in an attempt to liven up industry by making it easier to create new businesses. The “Meister” requirement was kept for 41 trades where public safety was an issue.
Thursday’s move reintroduces the “Meister” obligation for 12 trade sectors. Those affected include tilers, makers of wooden toys, coopers, signmakers, interior designers and organ builders.
Keeping the quality
Conservative politicians and representatives of the trade sectors have long been petitioning for a reintroduction of the requirement, saying that Germany’s reputation for fine quality was at stake.
The issue was included in the 2018 coalition agreement between the conservative CDU/CSU bloc of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Social Democrats.
Critics of the requirement say that the “Meister” qualification is no true guarantee of quality and that Germany’s current lack of craftspeople could be exacerbated, as many would be disqualified from founding businesses. They also say that customers will be forced to pay higher prices for services due to the higher status given by the “Meister” title.