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DGB dismisses freelancer following union activity!

Published on Jan 30, 2016 Tag:
Under pressure from FAU Berlin, DGB pays late payment penalty – and then cancels freelancer's contract!

At the DGB youth education centre in Flecken Zechlin (Brandenburg), the fees paid to freelancers for seminars are not only extremely low (100 euros per day), they have also frequently not been paid in a timely manner for the last few years – despite the absurdly long five week term of payment stated in their contracts.

One of the seminar facilitators, who had been working there regularly for years, finally had enough of this and, via the FAU Berlin, submitted a claim for a late payment penalty fee. The grassroots union’s demands were ignored – it was only thanks to the worker’s insistence and the support he received from his colleagues that these charges were paid.

When, once again, a fee was not paid towards the end of 2015, FAU Berlin finally turned directly to the DGB office responsible for the Berlin-Brandenburg region (the DGB is a reformist trade union confederation and the largest in Germany).

Two letters, in which the grassroots union filed a claim for a 40 Euro late payment penalty – in accordance with § 288 (5) of the German civil code (BGB) – were simply ignored. And so, in mid-January, FAU representatives paid an unannounced visit to the persons responsible at their offices on Keithstraße. The latter were not very happy about this visit, even going so far as to accuse the union reps of “blackmail”, and the hoped-for negotiations failed. However, the late payment penalty was paid three days later, following a “finalised examination of the legal situation” (wording in an email).

But there was an unpleasant surprise not far ahead. The very same month, January, the freelancer’s master agreement (Rahmenvertrag) at the educational centre was cancelled. The rationale behind this, that a “cooperation in a spirit of mutual trust” was no longer possible, was, in our opinion, entirely spurious. The connection to the union action at Keithstraße is abundantly clear. Apparently, freelancers who assert their rights are not very popular at the DGB and are quickly dispensed with.

The DGB pays its educational workers badly and unreliably and applies ruthless sanctions to those who refuse to accept these conditions and attempt to claim the minimal compensations they are entitled to. We say: these working conditions are not only an embarassment to any “trade union confederation” - they are a scandal!


We refuse to tolerate these conditions in educational work any longer! Get informed and get organized!


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Click here to get to the FAU Berlin's English membership formThe FAU Berlin is an independent grassroots union. It is part of the German Free Workers' Union (FAU) federation. Join us, take part, get active.


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