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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #243 - Germany: co-managers against the right to strike (fr, pt) [machine translation]

Date Wed, 19 Nov 2014 14:56:25 +0200


Faced with the development of the union landscape in Germany, the government is preparing a law to limit the right to strike... with the support of the largest trade union confederation. ---- After strikes in 2010 in the area of railway organized by the union GDL (mostly train drivers, about 80% of train drivers), which have been quite effective, employers and trade union confederation DGB great asked a law that limits the right to strike minority unions in the transport and in the health sector. This law should prohibit challenge a collective agreement signed by a majority union. For a decade, in the transport sector (rail and air) exist alongside professional unions DGB unions, dominant union confederation since the birth of the FRG in 1949. These smaller unions have conducted several strikes that have changed the union landscape due to their efficiency (by blocking rail and air traffic for several days).

Railroaders these strikes have created an unusual situation in Germany. Against this alliance of business and DGB to limit the right to strike, there is widespread opposition among union base, including the DGB, especially in the large public service union, ver.di But the new Social Democratic government (SPD) and Christian Democrats (CDU) promised to employers to propose a law in October 2014. The management of ver.di, under pressure from the base, changed its position openly criticizing this attempt to limit the right to strike.

For trade union freedoms

Recently, in August and September 2014, the GDL conducted fairly short strikes (two to three days) for a wage increase of 5% and the reduction of working time to 37 hours. They were well attended by the staff rolling in the Deutsche Bahn, the national railway company. The majority union EVG member of the DGB, has openly criticized the strikes and is disconnected. The leader of the DGB published an open letter in which he asked the government to speed up the law to prevent such strikes. Most media also criticize violently strikes on behalf of these poor users and effects on the economy. For a year, he formed a committee to freedom of association composed of base unionists, activists DGB, non-unionized workers, as well as known and respected lawyers, who act to prevent the anti-strike law. What is lacking in these times of strikes and struggles, it is a more offensive activity strikers to users, sometimes angry, to enlighten them on the situation of the railway and harsh working conditions.

Willi Hajek (member of TIE, German union network core)
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