Labor Day: DGB boss Fahimi: Tariff evasion causes billions in damage

Labor Day: DGB boss Fahimi: Tariff evasion causes billions in damage

At the May 1st rallies, the unions are, as usual, combative. In economically difficult times, it’s about fair wages and social justice. But not only.

On Labor Day, unions in Germany fought for social justice, fair wages and workers’ rights. The chairwoman of the German Federation of Trade Unions, Yasmin Fahimi, called for better conditions for employees at the main rally in Hanover. She criticized the collective bargaining evasion by employers, which causes economic damage of 130 billion euros annually. “Collective agreements make employees free in the world of work.” More wages, fair pay and regular working hours are the employees’ right, said Fahimi, who called for a federal collective bargaining law.

The chairwoman of IG Metall, Christiane Benner, called investments “the need of the hour”. Trade unions and their members are increasingly having to defend themselves against the relocation of jobs and downsizing plans. Companies’ lack of investment and strategy is becoming increasingly obvious. “Short-sighted reduction plans and a lack of trust in the industrial location and its employees are cowardly,” said Benner in Erfurt. “This not only weakens employees and the economy, but is also a fatal signal for society as a whole.”

Social and infrastructure policy should no longer be played off against each other, demanded the chairman of the Verdi service union, Frank Werneke. That is why the debt brake must finally be suspended or at least fundamentally reformed. “The debt brake is a brake on the future.” Employers and their lobby tried to reduce the state’s revenue “with their constant complaining” about excessive tax burdens and levies. “This impoverishment strategy must no longer work.”

Scholz against raising the retirement age

According to its own information, the DGB celebrated Labor Day with hundreds of rallies and events on the streets and squares in Germany. According to the DGB, more than 10,000 people gathered in Hanover, but the police only spoke of 2,500 participants. In Hamburg, around 7,000 people followed the call. At the start of the procession in Berlin through the center of the capital, the police estimated the number of participants at 7,500.

In a message on May 1st, Chancellor Olaf Scholz once again clearly rejected raising the retirement age. “For me it is a question of decency not to deny those who have worked for a long time the retirement they deserve,” said the SPD politician. “And younger people who are just starting out in their working lives also have the right to know how long they have to work.”

Scholz emphasized that employees in Germany had never worked as many hours as last year. “That’s why it annoys me when some people talk disparagingly about ‘Germany’s theme park’.” With over 46 million women and men, there are more employed people in Germany than ever before.

Heil: Protect European thoughts

Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) warned of social cuts on Labor Day. “May 1st is the day of solidarity – we will not allow ourselves to be driven apart,” said the SPD politician to the Berlin “Tagesspiegel”. “Especially on Labor Day, one cannot emphasize enough: I will not allow workers’ rights to be slashed and the welfare state to be dismantled.”

The AfD was also a topic at the May 1st rallies. In Hanover, DGB leader Fahimi called for people to vote democratically with a view to the European elections on June 9th. “We want a Europe for the people and good and peaceful coexistence,” she said. However, a Europe of isolation, as right-wing populists ultimately demand, would be an economic catastrophe, especially for Germany.

At the DGB rally in Dresden, Heil said: “The AfD is not an alternative for Germany, it is a nightmare for our country.” The AfD is running in the European elections with a program that, at the end of the day, aims for Germany to leave the European Union. “Europe is not just a peace project, Europe is a basis for our prosperity.” Europe should not be allowed to be destroyed by right-wing radicals and must show its colors.

Source: Stern

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