Teachers strike today in Berlin

The consequences of the collective bargaining conflict in the public sector will be felt by even more Berlin parents and children this Thursday. On this day, the Berlin Education and Science Union (GEW Berlin) is calling on teachers, educators, social workers and other employees at public schools and in the daycare centers of the city's own companies to stage an all-day warning strike.

"We are aware that the Corona period, and especially the associated loss of instruction, was a tremendous burden for families," said GEW bargaining expert Udo Mertens. He nevertheless asks all parents to support the concerns of the educators. "We have only warning strikes to counter the blockade attitude of the employers.

During the pandemic, it was the public sector employees who kept important areas of society running, said Tom Erdmann, chairman of the GEW Berlin. "Appreciation for the important work of educators, teachers and social workers is also reflected in their pay. That is why we are calling for a real wage increase for the public sector that at least keeps pace with the jump in inflation," said Anne Albers, head of the board's civil servant, employee, and collective bargaining policy.

It is not yet clear how many teachers and educators will take part in the warning strike, but it could be several thousand: "We had more than 5,000 colleagues on strike during the last round of collective bargaining. This time, too, we expect several thousand. It is very difficult to predict exactly how many there will be, especially because of Corona, of course," said GEW spokesman Markus Hanisch when asked.

As a result, there are likely to be cancellations and restrictions at a number of schools. During the last warning strike of the GEW in October, when the demand for a collective agreement on health protection was at stake, about 370 teachers participated in Berlin. At that time, however, only 28 of around 700 public schools were called to a warning strike; now the call is going out to all.

This means that school administrators could also be among the strikers because they too are no longer civil servants in Berlin. The Senate Department for Education said in response to a question: "Members of a school administration also have the right to strike as salaried employees. If they make use of this right, they can stop working at the beginning of the strike.

The situation is somewhat different for school principals, who receive an extra pay scale allowance. According to the education administration, they "cannot strike for better pay under collective bargaining agreements, as they are not covered by the collective bargaining agreement of the federal states." However, they have the possibility of a "sympathy strike". It depends on the individual case, he said. Among the 33,500 teachers, 22,000 now have salaried status. The social workers and educators are all salaried employees.

The GEW has announced a rally for 11 a.m. at the Brandenburg Gate.Already on Tuesday, numerous state employees went on a warning strike. Employees of state-owned daycare centers, district offices, and social workers followed the call of the Verdi trade union. Many of them gathered in the morning for a rally in front of Tempelhof City Hall. Verdi had previously announced that daycare centers could also be closed because of the warning strike. Such cases, however, were not known to her for the time being, said Verdi union secretary Tina Böhmer.

Several unions have been negotiating with the collective bargaining association of German states (TdL) for around four weeks. The most recent round of negotiations ended at the beginning of November without agreement. The unions are demanding a five percent pay rise for state employees, with a minimum of 150 euros per month. Trainees and interns are to receive 100 euros more per month. The TdL rejected the demands as unrealistic. Negotiations are to continue at the end of November.


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