We are colleagues from the Anti-violence sector within the Health & Social section of the Free Workers’ Union (FAU) Berlin. We have joined together to support each other with questions about individual working conditions and the development of collective interests.

We organise across companies. On the one hand, we find that exchange across small independent organisations helps us better recognise available scopes for action. On the other hand, the counterpart of the subsidised organisations is ultimately the Berlin Senate.

What unites us and what we want

In our wage labour, we are often confronted with the extreme effects of patriarchal and capitalist violence. Despite this, we can often only offer individual support. Experiencing and enduring these realities essentially characterises our working conditions. In our day-to-day work, we are sometimes only concerned with managing the lack of support services for FLINTA* (women, lesbians, intersex, non-binary, trans, agender people) affected by patriarchial violence, instead of being able to fight against the causes of that violence. This is because there is not enough help available in Berlin for FLINTA* affected by violence and, where applicable, their children. The structural dimension of patriarchal violence can be seen, among other things, in the fact that many women are economically dependent on their partners due to years of unpaid reproductive labour. If their residence is then linked to that of their partner, a further dimension is added.

We are looking for an approach that links the fight for paid labour that can be endured with the fight for a better support system for those affected by violence. Of course, this also means fighting together to dismantle the exist patriarchal and capitalist relations of violence.

Why we are organising

The entire support system would never have been established without feminist struggles. Nevertheless, it is still poorly paid and precarious care work and, as is usual in the social sector, the emergency situations in which we operate lead to a great willingness to self-exploit. Many ‘women’s projects’, which are networked in various bodies, are constantly trying to increase the pressure on politicians. However, our experience is that we sometimes lack political clout within the corset of wage labour. Although feminist movements have become more present in recent years and the issue of violence in close relationships has received more public attention, the support system remains underfunded. We believe it is essential that we, as wage-earning educators, social workers, therapists, counsellors and administrative staff in this field, organise ourselves into trade unions. This can close the gap between the street and the help system and generate new political pressure. Would a political, feminist strike be a possible means? And if so, what could it look like?

What is the FAU?

The Free Workers’ Union (FAU) is a self-organised grassroots trade union. Together, we fight for a society based on solidarity and self-management. As an organisation of wage earners, we support each other according to the principle of mutual aid in individual labour disputes, collective organising processes and industrial action.


When: every 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7 pm.
Please register in advance via email to faub-gesoz@fau.org
Ya basta – workplace organisation in feminist projects