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(en) France, Alternative libertaire de septembre - Germany Recompositions union by the base (fr) [machine translation]

Date Thu, 27 Sep 2012 10:27:49 +0200


Printing broadcast by the major German social media landscape suggests that the country is a haven of peace, where competitive workers are happy and productive! This is of course a media construction. ---- In February 2012, the chain Schlecker goes bankrupt, making the street 25,000 German employees - almost exclusively women - and 17,000 internationally. The boss had long refused any trade union activity but had given in recent years due to fierce struggles. ---- It was a great success in an area where it is notoriously difficult for unions to establish themselves. Verdi is the majority union with two million members. During the bankruptcy process - from February to June 2012 - the union mobilizations few tries but prioritizes regional negotiations with management to find a solution. Workers put their trust in the negotiations.

Only a small minority of them took the initiative to create a dynamic bottom by holding shares in big cities. But no nationally coordinated action not allowed to gather 25,000 workers to assert their presence, fighting spirit and the support of the population. In the end, this fight especially shows a union of 2 million members is unable to mobilize massively against such a failure.

It also highlights the role of manager support unionism in crisis, particularly appreciated by the rulers. A small group of workers has nevertheless established collective self-directed plans to open shops. Stay tuned!

Union bureaucracies

The automotive industry in Germany has winners - they are luxury brands Mercedes-BMW-Audi-Porsche and Volkswagen. And there's Opel-GM is in the same situation as PSA Aulnay which management expects to close 2016.

Only problem Bochum Opel workers are more aggressive and the union IG Metall can not control the workers who organize strikes and actions wild. A month ago, a meeting organized by the management has found its end when all workers - about 2000 - left the room in protest, leading to the resignation of the director of the factory. In the whole country, social unrest continues to grow between rich and provocative growing casualization: 20% of the population lives in Berlin unemployment benefits and many workers receive a monthly salary of less than 1000 euro.

The street as a space claim

But the big unions are unable or simply do not want to organize the mobilization to defend a revaluation of the minimum wage. In different sectors - transport, health - growing discontent towards unionism cogestionaire this causes the creation of opposition groups in the big unions and the development of basic trade union activities (FAU and Wobblies). The trade union landscape is therefore faced with a completely remodeled part of employers and union leaders, mainly IG Metall, which intend to limit the right to strike and trade union organization. Beyond reconstructions union, people resist and organize.

In Berlin, tents were set up in July to protest against rising rents and in all districts of Berlin bloom committees, public meetings, street actions and blockages. Social movement that developed against the Stuttgart 21 rail project has changed the balance of power.

Part of the population was found on the street as a place of protest and public space and an oppositional alternative television were created. That is Germany where I live and activist.

Willi Hajek (German trade unionist)
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