Solidarity has many faces

Dark clouds chase across the sky above bamberg. Even though there was a lot of noise this afternoon, the young union members did not want to be dissuaded from a quick banner action. In rough letters it says "solidarity always works" at the transparent DGB youth.

Only a few people are on the road. This year has probably been the most 1. May for many years. No demo with loudspeaker trucks and hundreds of participants. No sea of union flags. Corona has a firm grip on labor day.

Important right now

After the short photo shoot at the gabelmann, claas meyer tells why it is important to make demands as a union right now: "the trainees are struggling with whether they can complete their training", declares the youth secretary of the DGB upper franconia.

Many trainees now have to work full time more and more often, so that time for vocational school also falls by the wayside. "In addition, the vocational school must now take place digitally, which also leads to technical difficulties", he continues.

But it is not only for trainees that meyer wants to achieve improvements: students whose livelihoods have been cut short by the corona pandemic need immediate subsidies. "Many have already accumulated debts through bafog. Therefore, the support should not take place via further loans", the youth secretary describes the situation.

Hendrik torner, university contact for the GEW education union at the university of bamberg, calls for more counseling for students, especially in the fall, when jobs are eliminated. But livelihood is not the only important issue: "we need good solutions for the teaching students who have to live with the uncertainty surrounding their state exams."

The uncertainty runs through the day. Same place, two hours earlier: the marxist leninist party of germany has registered the only rally on this day. That is: special permission for a maximum of 50 participants and one hour.

15 people in masks actually stand on chalk-painted circles in the semicircle around the neptune statue. In between, flowerpots with flags in them stand guard over the two-meter safety distance. "Bosch, brose and siemens have already cut jobs before the corona virus", a man named artur denounces the focus on the corona virus issue. At the same time, the store steward in a metalworking company criticizes the speed of the relaxations of corona decreases, while still more than half of the workers are on site in the factory.

For cursed use

His colleague therese demands that the vacant hotels be used for refugees who are currently in the anchor center without sufficient protection from the virus. For the nurse, it is clear: "this situation did not come as a surprise to us. The virus is not the problem, it’s capitalism."

Karin mayer stands nearby and listens to the speeches: "i think it’s good that a rally is taking place." The distance rules are well implemented. "It is a pity that so few people are here, although this is the only event today", finds a bambergerin, which otherwise always on the 1. May participate in demos.

Another step back in time, 10 o’clock at the same place. Union spokespersons and works councils fly the flag with banners and make their own statements.

Of course, the colleagues from the service sector union verdi are very prominent in this: "a lot has gone wrong in the healthcare system. Clapping is not enough. Now consequences must also be drawn!", hold doris stadelmayer.

The district manager of upper franconia-west not only demands permanently better pay for the workforce in the health sector, but also wants more money and hardship payments for other system-relevant employees in childcare, retail, the post office or in the transport sector due to the difficult working conditions in the crisis.

A realignment

Stadelmeyer energetically calls for a reorientation of the health care system: "we must rethink the system of profit orientation. Making profit from old people’s homes is disgusting."

Felix holland, chairman of the staff council of the social foundation in bamberg, agrees with her: "our hospitals have been on fire for 20 years." One of the questions to be answered after the crisis is: "how many nursing staff must be available to provide good care for the patients??"

But concerns remain in the industry as well: "we have great rescue packages for the companies, but we also need rescue packages for the people", states matthias gebhardt, first authorized representative of the IG metall union.

The increase in the short-time allowance is an important step, but it should not be forgotten that the transformation process of the industry continues unabated.

Things are also moving at michelin in hallstadt: "some employees have already been offered new jobs", says josef morgenroth, chairman of the works council.

The solidarity of numerous colleagues from the union side and employee members from other companies had a favorable influence on the outcome of the negotiations with the group.

Even if the social plan and collective agreement are ready: "there is nothing like good work and permanent jobs", says morgenroth with a view to the final plant closure in 2022.

Speaking of next year: hopefully it will be "a classic may day demonstration" again there will be a lot of work to do, says mathias eckardt, regional manager of the DGB.

Eckardt can nevertheless take something positive from the situation: "solidarity was somewhat dispersed outside the trade unions. Now it affects not only employees, but society as a whole. Even worldwide!"

And so, after the photo shoot, we go home to fight for a just society and good wages around the world on the internet.

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