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Fig. 1. Michael Kalthoff (left) is President, Michael Weberink is managing director of the bsn. // Bild 1. Michael Kalthoff (li.) ist Präsident, Michael Weberink Geschäftsführer des bsn. Photos/Fotos: RAG, bsn

GVSt becomes bsn – Gesamtverband Steinkohle changes its name to Branchenverband Steinkohle und Nachbergbau

On 1st March 2021, the Hard Coal Association (Gesamtverband Steinkohle e.V. – GVSt), Essen/Germany, changed its name and has been operating under the designation Branchenverband Steinkohle und Nachbergbau e.V. (bsn) since this date. This renaming represents the association’s clarification of the changes in the focus of its work subsequent to the end of coal mining in Germany in 2018. Now, three years after the cessation of mining, the German coal mining industry has definitely arrived in the post-mining era. Today, coal policy and energy industry issues are taking a back seat as the industry is clearly focused on responsibly dealing with the -legacy issues and the so-called perpetual tasks. The association will continue to represent in future the interests of its members,
RAG Aktiengesellschaft, its subsidiaries and STEAG GmbH. The members wanted to make this shift in the association’s objectives recognisable and decided to change its name to bsn (Industry Association for Hard Coal and Post-Mining) (Figure 1).

Representing the interests of its members in all aspects of post-mining – clearly characterised by legal issues concerning dewatering, abandoned mines and surface recultivation – will be added to the association’s other tasks, which will remain unchanged. The bsn represents its members as an employers’ association, counsels them on questions of individual and collective labour law, including company pension schemes, and performs important tasks in social self-administration. It remains the collective bargaining party for its members bound by collective agreements and is currently negotiating with its collective bargaining partner, the Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Trade Union (IG BCE), on a new collective agreement for the hard coal industry. The objective is to replace the collective bargaining regulations for the industry that were concluded to cover traditional mining activities with a modern framework for the changed tasks of post-mining.

The German Hard Coal Mining Association (GVSt) was founded in 1968 as a federation of what were at that time regional associations of companies in German hard coal mining. Since its establishment, the GVSt has performed association tasks that were oriented to the general conditions for hard coal. In this role, it played a part in blazing the path to an orderly and socially acceptable end to German hard coal mining. In 2007, it began acting as the bargaining agent in lieu of the Business Association Hard Coal (UVSt) and changed its name to the short form Hard Coal Mining Association (GVSt) that had previously been established in common use. The merger of the long-established Association for Mining Interests (VbI) with the GVSt in 2009 completed the consolidation of the German hard coal mining industry’s cooperative organisations. The sharper focus on specific tasks and the organisation’s renaming as the Industry Association for Hard Coal and Post-Mining are the next steps in its adaptation to the general conditions in hard coal mining as the industry enters the post-mining era. (bsn/Si.)