News from Berlin and Germany, 15th October 2021

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany



Part of Berlin election may be declared invalid

The formation of a government is getting closer and closer, but it is still open whether parts of the elections will be declared invalid. And it seems that now only the Constitutional Court can order new elections. And, for Geert Baasen (State Election Administration), the fact that some people voted after 6pm is no reason for a repeat. There were other kinds of breakdowns, especially in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Pankow. On Thursday, the state election commissioner will report on the irregularities in all districts. Meanwhile, on the website, Martin Sonneborn (die Partei) is collecting testimonials. Source: Tagesspiegel

New collective agreement for striking health workers expected soon

Since September, the nursing staff at Vivantes in Berlin were on strike. Now there is a breakthrough – and probably a new collective agreement soon. According to the trade union ver.di, both parties agreed on key points for such collective agreement. The key points foresee for example that from 2022 onwards, nursing staff will receive staggered points for exceptional workload. For a certain number of points, they might receive around 150 euros, the union announced. Strikes have therefore been suspended in Berlin for the time being and further talks to all employees of Vivantes subsidiaries are to be expected. Source: rbb

Privatisation of Berlin S-Bahn delayed

The billion-euro tender for Berlin’s S-Bahn has been delayed again, to the beginning of November. It is already the second time this is postponed. Insiders report the S-Bahn tender will also be an important topic in the coalition negotiations. The tendering procedure for Berlin’s S-Bahn has been running for a year, with up to eleven billion euros at stake. Berlin wants to break Deutsche Bahn’s monopoly with this tender. For the eleven lines of the north-south and east-west routes, at least 1,308 and up to 2,160 wagons are needed. The new vehicles are to be delivered between 2027 and 2034. Source: tagesspiegel


Attacks on doctors performing abortions escalate

Section 219a of the Criminal Code has been in the headlines in recent years, mainly because doctors have been reported for providing information about abortion services on their websites. It prohibits, for example, making public whether and how doctors perform abortions – “for pecuniary gain”. Recently, a doctor was charged because she gave a public interview about the topic to the Heinrich Böll Foundation. The doctors Kristina Hänel and Bettina Gaber have already filed a complaint against section 219a with the Federal Constitutional Court. Depending on its outcome, there might be a good chance of finally abolishing the paragraph. Source: taz

Schoolteacher is allowed to work with a headscarf after all

A legal dispute over the wearing of a headscarf in the workplace between a Hamburg daycare provider and a female educator has apparently been settled. The day-care worker, who has been dismissed from her job, was allowed to return to work wearing her headscarf. Judges in Luxembourg ruled in July that employers can ban the wearing of religious or ideological symbols – such as headscarves – under certain conditions. Given this ruling, the court in Hamburg would now have decided for the day-care worker. The day-care provider has nevertheless relented. Source: islamiq

Former AfD leader convicted of subsidy fraud

Former AfD leader Frauke Petry has been found guilty of subsidy fraud, breach of trust and tax evasion. The Leipzig Regional Court sentenced the 46-year-old to pay a fine of 9,000 euros on Tuesday. The case concerned a grant Petry had applied for in 2014 for a consultancy for her company at the time. However, she is said to have used the money to pay bills that had accrued in the settlement of her private insolvency. In 2020, the Leipzig District Court acquitted Petry in the first instance, but the public prosecutor’s office appealed against that. Source: jW