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Böll Foundation Management remains stubborn

Published on Oct 16, 2013 Tags: , ,
The Böll Foundation management is openly ignoring a recent court ruling that forces them to continue to employ and pay a union activist it had tried to push out. Despite bad press and the court ruling, the foundation's management is not even willing to negotiate with the union.

Some background: Precarious working conditions in a Green political foundation?

Heinrich Böll Foundation, a lobby group and education organisation with close ties to the German Green Party, has been employing many workers under precarious conditions for years. As has been common practice among the most exploitive employers in Germany over the past decade, the foundation uses outsourcing and temporary work to reduce wages and get more “flexible” workers. In effect, though, the Böll Foundation has circumvented labour laws and the regulations of the collective agreement. Because of this, some of the workers in the Böll Foundation have joined the FAU, a local rank-and-file union, to fight for better pay and working conditions.

Management has refused to negotiate with the union since the beginning of the conflict. When a contract with a service firm ran out in July, the Böll Foundation seized the opportunity to hire a new contractor and thus replaced a number of union activists with new temporary workers. However, the FAU and the locked-out activists continued their struggle and took legal and union action.

Even after court ruling: No negotiations, no pay!

 In a trial, a Berlin labour court decided that the Böll Foundation temporary work contracts – which made it so easy for the foundation to pay lower wages, demand “flexible” hours and replace the union activists – were illegal. According to the court ruling, the first of the activists to bring his case before the court should have a work contract not as a temporary worker but as a regular employee with all the benefits of the collective agreement for the German public sector as well as those provided for by labour laws. However, the foundation management still refuses to negotiate with the union to reach an agreement on the exact conditions of employment, the salary scheme and the cases of the other colleagues. Instead, management wants to talk to all the colleagues individually. We will not accept this union-busting strategy which isolates the workers!

Completely unacceptable, though, is the foundation's refusal to let our colleague work there and to pay him. The court ruling of September 5, 2013, clearly states that the work contract is in effect immediately. The Heinrich Böll Foundation is unlawfully withholding our colleague's wages! Apparently, they hope to delay a resolution of the matter until our member gives up out of bare economic necessity. Management fails to realize that a strong union is behind all the employees who have worked there under precarious conditions for years and have now lost their job.



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