Hereby we declare our solidarity with the striking colleques of the air traffic controllers' union (GDF) at the airport of Frankfurt am Main.
The prohibition of strikes, decided by Frankfurt's labour court, initiated by Fraport and Lufthansa, make quite clear to everyone that there is no right to strike in Germany at all. This so-called constitutional right has been constantly breached by minor labour courts in the interest of companies.
The labour court in Frankfurt prohibited the strike of the GDF because of formal matters. Two details of their claims do not fulfill their duty not to engage industrial actions. This is why the GDF had to stop their strike. And yesterday, the same judge forbade a solidarity strike of air traffic controllers by declaring it "disproportionate“.
But in fact, the people in Germany are deprived of fundemental human rights, as it is their right to build unions in their own interest. What good is it to have the right to „organise“ for your interests, but the means to realise them are forbidden?
An employers' spokesman made it very clear on television this morning. It cannot be that a small forceful union is able to achieve higher wages because then, many members of Verdi would leave their union, to fight for better wages on their own, he said.
The topic of the "unity of collective agreements“ [Tarifeinheit] - which means that only the collective agreement of the biggest union inside a company is valid – is one of the favourite political wishes of employers' organisations. Ursula von der Leyen, who is Germany's Secretary of State for Employment, did fastly react by saying that she is going to do everything possible to cut down the power of small unions. They might be allowed to negotiate but they are forbidden to fight for their rights.
The FAU-IWA has been afraid of attacks against the right to strike for a long time. Yet concerning the freedom of unions, Germany is a developing country, in which fundamental rights like the ILO conventions 87 and 98, are kept back from the workers.
The refusal to work is a human right although and part of our personal self- determination; it is a fundamental human right although it is only effective in a joint effort. This right should not only include economic struggles or collective agreements, but also so called "political strikes“. The FAU-IWA does not only stand for the freedom of trade unions but also for the comprehensive and untouchable right to strike for all workers – whether they are organized in a union or not.
Freie Arbeiterinnen- und Arbeiter-Union, Right to Strike Workgroup.