The Verdi members in the social and educational service are asked to vote by the beginning of June on the deal that the Verdi service union agreed with the Association of Municipal Employers (VKA) on Wednesday. The network of action committees for safe education calls on all employees in day-care centers and social institutions to vote “no”!
This degree isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. It can only be described as a sell-out of the struggle thousands have waged since early March to upgrade the social worker and educator profession. It has a term of five years, from the beginning of 2022 to the end of 2026! As such, its main function is to choke off the growing strike movement in day-care centers and in the public sector, and to isolate them from the rest of the working class. “There will be no more strikes,” GEW rejoices in its commentary on the new contract.
The degree provides for a flat rate of two days more free time per year; two more days of relief are possible by waiving a new financial allowance. This in a situation of dramatic staff shortages, in which the employees “voluntarily” constantly fill in, work in their free time and ruin their health. Nationwide, daycare centers are missing more than 173,000 employees, many are absent due to Corona, and the workload is constantly increasing. As in Hesse, state politicians are using the Ukrainian refugees to increase the number of children per skilled worker from 25 to 30.
“More needs more!” was one of the most popular slogans during the warning strike. The financial allowance now consists in the fact that from July 1, 2022, the daycare teachers will receive a monthly supplement of 130 euros, and the social workers will receive 180 euros – gross, of course! That’s an extra hundred in your wallet at best, while prices keep rising. In addition, there is a long-overdue adjustment of the duration of the steps to the general collective agreement for the public sector (TVöD), which will only take effect in two years, from October 2024.
The collective agreement in the social and educational service is an additional agreement to the TVöD, which does not expire until December 2022 and, with a wage “increase” of 1.8 percent this year, means an effective reduction in real wages. Inflation has already risen to 7.4 percent in April, not to mention the rise in petrol, energy and food prices.
The negotiations had been moved from Potsdam to Berlin on Tuesday evening. The degree obtained there is also adopted by the teachers’ union GEW and the German civil servants’ association dbb. It applies to all permanent employees in municipal and federal offices (with the exception of Berlin). In earlier times, it was also used in the institutions of private, church or charitable organizations, but this is no longer a matter of course.
And what about the many non-permanent civil servants who do the same work as career changers and “assistants”? They are still being fobbed off with minimum wages.
In a situation where the government is pumping hundreds of billions into armaments and shareholders are seeing soaring stock markets, the new contract comes as open mockery, even a kick, for social workers and educators. He signals to them what the governing politicians have in mind: Not upgrading the social facilities with more staff, smaller groups and better conditions so that the employees have some breathing space. Their institutions are more and more degraded to detention centers.
In recent weeks, not only have thousands of daycare workers and social workers taken to the streets against impossible working conditions, but also nurses, teachers and bus drivers have taken up the fight. In NRW, the nurses at six university hospitals have been waging an open-ended labor dispute since the beginning of May. This movement is part of a global upsurge in strikes and protests against the social impact of the coronavirus pandemic and war.
But the DGB unions, above all Verdi, are on the side of the governments who want to contain this movement at all costs. The traffic light coalition has opted for massive rearmament, and the working class is to bear the cost of this. The Verdi leaders Frank Werneke and Christine Behle, who conducted the negotiations in Potsdam and Berlin, belong to the same governing party, the SPD, as the negotiator on the opposite side, Karin Welge, and share their policies.
The traffic light coalition is determined to reinstate the debt brake next year and return to “black zero”. The population must “make sacrifices,” demanded Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) on March 27 in Bellevue Palace, when he announced the sanctions against Russia with the words: “The whole truth is: there are still many hardships ahead of us. The new conclusion lies on this line, and it clearly shows who should make sacrifices.
The Network of Action Committees for Safe Education calls on all public servants and the entire working class to break through this class logic and not be burned up in a war policy in the interests of the rich and shareholders that will lead to a third world war. No more “profits before life” policy, which has led to 140,000 unnecessary corona deaths in Germany alone!
We propose withdrawing confidence from the DGB unions and setting up independent action committees in each company. Such action committees are already playing an important role, for example in the labor disputes in parts of the US auto industry, at Ford in Germany and Spain, in the international ZeroCovid movement for safe schools and in the tea plantations in Sri Lanka.
As a first step, the sell-out in social and educational services must be decisively rejected! He is not the first of his kind. Frank Werneke’s predecessor at the helm of Verdi, Frank Bsirske (Die Grünen), seven years ago stalled and sold out a major labor dispute over “upgrading” in social and educational services using every trick in the book. Contrary to all promises, the situation has continued to deteriorate since the day-care center strike in 2015. That has to end now.