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(en) Germany, FAU, direkte aktion:WE DON'T PAY, WE STRIKE (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 15 Mar 2023 08:14:24 +0200

A post about crisis protests and external support options for the current labor disputes at Post and Co. ---- Business & Society By: Peter Nowak - February 22, 2023 ---- On February 10, almost 4,000 mostly young people demonstrated shortly before the Berlin repeat election from the climate movement for self-organization from below instead of placing hopes in the elections. At the back of the demonstration there was also a large anti-capitalist bloc. There was a slogan on a banner: "Strike on the streets, in schools and in the factories, this is our answer to your policy". "We want to use this to draw a connection between our climate strikes and the labor disputes," said a young woman who carried the banner.

This is also the goal of the nationwide alliance Enough is Enough (GiG). It wants to support the upcoming collective bargaining battles outside of the company and sees allies in the extra-parliamentary left, who have called for protests against high prices and rents in recent months. At the first meeting of the GiG alliance in Berlin-Neukölln in autumn 2022, left-wing initiatives and employees from various sectors who are currently or will soon be fighting wage wars spoke.

At the end of January there was a neighborhood meeting against high prices and high rents in the district of Wedding. There, various left-wing district initiatives such as the Kiezkommune Wedding and the district initiative "Hands off Wedding" (HdW) presented their work. HdW has been supporting union struggles for years. Clemens reported on the "Social Work Solidarity Meeting in Capitalism", which was founded 3 years ago. Every third Wednesday of the month, social workers from all over Berlin meet in Wedding's Kiezhaus Agnes Reinhold. The solidarity meeting was initiated by HdW. "Our basic idea was to organize ourselves where we work and live. There are a lot of social workers in our group, so that's where we start with the organisation," reported Marc, who co-founded the solidarity circle.

At the neighborhood assembly, activists from the hospital movement and the Berliner Stadtreinigung (BSR) campaigned for external support for their struggles. One employee at the post office, who described the warning strikes in recent weeks as just the beginning, received a lot of applause. In a committed speech, she spoke of a high willingness to fight among her colleagues, because everyone knows that through her work, Swiss Post was one of the beneficiaries of the crisis during the Corona period. But she also said that there are still colleagues who are afraid to go on strike. She therefore called on those present to support the delivery staff with small gestures, such as solidarity stickers on the mailboxes.

A young activist from the climate movement also built bridges to the wage wars in her speech. She recalled that already in 2020 members of Fridays for Future supported the industrial action of public transport workers. Joint activities are planned again next year. The neighborhood assembly made it clear that very different groups can cooperate if they prioritize what they have in common and not what divides them.

In January of this year, activists from the crisis protests founded the alliance "We don't pay" in Berlin. Four concrete socio-political demands were put forward: the ban on power cuts for people who cannot pay their bills; a cap on the price of electricity at 15 cents per kilowatt hour; 100 percent renewable, decentralized energy and finally a socialization of the energy industry.

The initiative has set itself the goal of gathering 1 million supporters who are willing not to pay the costs for electricity and gas. Almost 4,000 people in Germany have currently signed the demands. In Great Britain, where the campaign started as "Enough is Enough", there are still over 300,000 supporters. However, that is still a long way from the goal of 1 million. Here, as in Germany, it is a question of carrying these socio-political demands into other struggles. The motto of the alliance is "We don't pay - we strike". So it makes sense to be present at the current collective bargaining disputes, warning strikes and demonstrations.

In Jungle World 5/2023, the two topics were treated completely separately without drawing a connection between them. Stefan Dietl, for example, wrote a very committed article about the looming labor dispute at the post office under the heading "The strike front is standing". Two pages later there was an article by Gaston Kirsche about the "We don't pay" initiative. However, this only has a chance of being noticed beyond the left scene if the connection with collective bargaining succeeds. In Berlin there are already good experiences with such a cooperation. The wage disputes could become a continuation of the crisis protests.

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