Gewerkschafter*innen 4 Gaza

Trade Unionists for Gaza


Over the past months, several trade union members of IG Metall and ver.di decided to launch together a new campaign called Gewerkschafter*innen 4 Gaza (Trade unionists for 4 Gaza): 

Our 4 demands are bold, yet pragmatic, focusing on both the transnational and domestic spheres.

  1. Ban on weapons exports. Transnationally, Germany is the 2nd largest weapons exporter to the Israeli state (30%), followed by the United States (60%). Unfortunately too many of these weapons are built and transported by workers in Germany. Trade unions in Belgium have refused to be involved. There are pending lawsuits over Germany’s moral and legal liability in arms export.
  2. Ceasefire: Our sibling trade unions across the world (UNI Global; USA)  have called for an immediate cease fire. A ceasefire is not the end-goal, but it is the most urgent measure and a starting point.  
  3. Uphold civil liberties and political activities of workers and migrants within Germany. The overt repression and racist retaliation targeted participants of demonstrations, people’s livelihoods (recently Berlin women’s shelters – FRIEDA-Frauenzentrum were shut down), academic invites withdrawn, journalists arrested to name a few. Meanwhile, far-right wing candidates in Germany are growing in strength and numbers largely without opposition.
    More recently, ver.di union published a statement criticizing the exmatriculation laws that would create a double legal-system within universities, clearly targeting Palestine solidarity. This is in the right direction, and we need more concrete material support by trade unions to provide legal, material and social support for assembly.
  4. Open the conversation about Germany and civil society’s role: Most civil actors in Germany are hesitant to engage in this topic, either due to overt support for the Israeli state at worst, or because of a political climate where any dissenting voices fear political backlash. This is unfortunately true within our trade unions as well. We want to host public educational panels, speak at workers’ assemblies and continue the political education to show why this conversation cannot wait any longer. In addition to explicitly left trade union conferences/panels, we want to engage rank and file members in different workplaces. We have contacts with workers in hospitals, warehouses, tech companies, but have a lot more outreach to do.

This campaign is several years late, but we need to start somewhere. With 40 million workers in Germany (6 million union members) we have a lot of work to do. We need to find ways to creatively express external support/interest from individual trade union members, and collectively the positions of different labor bodies including Works/Staff Councils, union committees; and formal internal trade union structures like migrant and sector based committees. Like most of the demonstrations and support in the streets, there is a huge interest, but most people don’t have a venue/space to challenge the complicity of institutional actors. We hope this campaign will provide a platform to engage with trade unions as members. 

Get involved by signing up on our website! We will launch our first canvassing action on 1 May or International Workers Day. Our campaign and website are freshly launched (and need updating still), so we are excited for any support to help make this a lasting campaign that speaks to a broader trade union audience, domestically and internationally.

On Sunday, 28 April from 11:00-13:00 we have an online Zoom call, if you are interested in participating, sign up on the website.