News from Berlin and Germany, 10th July 2024

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



280 Berlin “Kitas” on strike for 5 days

The union ver.di wants minimum staffing ratios and increased staff training for daycare centres (“Kitas”), but an ongoing conflict between them and the Berlin Senate is in deadlock. Last Monday a “warning strike” began, closing 280 daycare centres across the city and impacting around 35,000 children. The union is not demanding more money for its workers, but Kita employees are trying to get the Berlin Senate to agree on a number of policies, among them minimum staffing ratios, rules to protect the health of staff, improved training and more time for educational work aimed at increasing the overall quality of care. Source: The Berliner

AfD loses bank account

The AfD has lost its account with Berliner Volksbank. This was announced by Omas gegen Rechts after a meeting with the bank’s CEO, Carsten Jung. The anti-fascist senior citizens initiated a petition on the online platform two months ago and have now collected more than 33,500 signatures in favour of ending Berliner Volksbank’s business relationship with the party. The bank itself did not want to confirm the move, citing banking confidentiality . However, when asked by the taz newspaper whether the donation account had been closed, they were told: “Have a look at the AfD website.” On the party’s website, the option of donating by bank transfer to the account at Berliner Volksbank has disappeared. Source: taz

Neo-Nazis beat several people to the ground in Berlin

In Berlin, right-wing extremists attacked a group of people on their way to a demonstration in the Marzahn-Hellersdorf district. Several people were injured. According to witnesses, the masked perpetrators were armed with wooden clubs, batons, quartz gloves and tear gas. The attack took place on Saturday afternoon at Ostkreuz in front of a Biomarkt. The anti-fascists had met there to travel together to the demonstration. Up to 20 neo-Nazis stormed into the group of people waiting at Ostkreuz in rows of two and attacked “two at a time.” A police spokesman mentioned that a federal police officer was also attacked and injured when she tried to intervene. Source: t-online



Hartz IV returns

The federal government wants to use stricter rules to encourage more recipients of the so-called ‘citizen’s allowance’ to take up work. This is part of a 31-page catalogue of measures, the “Growth initiative – new economic dynamism for Germany” published by the government last week. This annoncment has come while the introduction of ‘basic child benefit’, approved in the coalition-governments agreement, has not been implemented according to the planning and has received no public response. It had always been described as one of the government’s most important social policy projects. Seven social associations and the DGB had already warned against a freeze on citizen’s allowance. Source: jungewelt

Major construction kicks off to fix Germany’s railways

On July 15th the state-owned railway company, “Deutsche Bahn (DB)” will start a massive renovation program. It plans to renew 40 main train routes by 2030. Each of them will be closed for several months while construction work is carried out. The first slated for renewal is the line connecting Frankfurt and Mannheim known as the Riedbahn. This plan – the largest infrastructure program in DB’s history – is expected to cost €45 billion. Train delays with DB have steadily increased in recent years. In 2023, less than two-thirds of long-distance trains reached their destination on time – a record low. Source: dw

German defense minister not satisfied with the military budget gap

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) expressed his dissatisfaction with the outcome of the budget negotiations for the country’s defense budget. A coalition deal on next year’s domestic budget provides less for the armed forces in 2025 than Pistorius had demanded as Germany seeks to beef up its armed forces. However, while the budget may not have met Pistorius’s hopes, it still keeps German defense spending above the NATO target of 2% of gross domestic product. Meanwhile, German military high officers have warned that additional funds are needed immediately for Germany to be combat-ready in five years. Source: dw

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