The IWA expresses its support for the struggle of workers who have tried to organize for better working conditions at the Heinrich Boll Foundation in Berlin through the free union, FAU. Despite the fact that there have been positive court verdicts for the workers, and despite the fact that Boll Foundation representatives promised to discuss with the union (in order to stop a protest), Boll Foundation still refuses to recognize the union, justifying its behaviour by claiming that the union is not „legal”. Thus it is using Germany's bourgeois union laws to avoid discussing with a union formed by people working in the Foundation.
Everybody who filed a suit to be employed directly by the Foundation – and not through the agency which was paying people too little – has been directly hired due to the court decision. But this does not mean that they have been given regular work. To the contrary – the Foundation tries to keep people, especially the main instigator of the union drive, on minimal hours. So the members of FAU must again go to court, since there is no dialogue with the employer – only press releases and PR made by the Foundation in support of its behaviour.
To be perfectly clear, the members of the union aren't even demanding full-time employment, but a minimum of 10 hours per week, so that they can get by and by paid more under the collective agreement. We consider that by not giving these workers even a minimum of hours but continuing to use a new firm for this work, they are simply trying to get these people to quit, so they can continue with their practices.
The union suffers various forms of harrassment from the Foundation, where a small group of people do things like remove the union's information from the bulletin board, criticize the union at meetings, etc. etc.
The IWA stands behind workers of FAU in Heinrich Boll Foundation who are struggling to be directly hired, gain better conditions and win the recognition of their union. We call on our members Sections, Friends, supporters and comrades around the world to take action to inform and remind the Foundation of our support of the workers and contempt for the actions of the Foundation hierarchy!
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General Secretary of IWA