News from Berlin and Germany: 18th September, 2021

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany


compiled by Ana Ferreira


Ver.di to extend strikes at Charité and Vivantes this week

The collective bargaining conflict at Charité and Vivantes is going into the next round. Even a new offer from the management did not bring the hoped-for movement. Now the strikes are to be extended. Ver.di’s deputy regional director Susanne Feldkötter again appealed to the Berlin Senate to persuade the state-owned hospital operators to compromise on collective bargaining. The Greens and the Left have called on Finance Senator Matthias Kollatz (SPD) to get more involved in the wage dispute at the state-owned hospitals. He rejected the demands, affirming the Vivantes management has made an offer to ver.di, which was rejected by the union. Source: rbb

Ver.di calls for strikes in retail trade on Monday

After the railway, Charité and Vivantes, there is now renewed industrial action in the retail sector in Berlin and Brandenburg. The services union ver.di has again called on workers in the retail sector and individual food warehouses in the region to take part in a day-long warning strike. Ver.di is demanding a wage increase of 4.5 per cent plus 45 euros per month as well as a minimum hourly wage of 12.50 euros – with a duration of the collective agreement of nine months. In addition, the agreement would have to be declared generally binding so that it would apply to all retail workers. Source: rbb

“Against rent madness”, thousands demonstrate in Berlin

Thousands of people demonstrated against high rents in Berlin on last Saturday. They marched from Alexanderplatz to Großer Stern. Various initiatives took part, led by the “Berliner Bündnis gegen Verdrängung und Mietenwahnsinn” (Berlin Alliance against Displacement and Rent Madness), with a common goal: a new housing policy and a rent freeze. The organisers estimated the number of participants at around 20,000. The demonstration aims at a change of course such as a rent freeze, no conversions into property and no terminations of own use, beyond no evictions, expropriations of large real estate corporations, as well as the nationwide rent cap. Source: md

Ali fears for his family in Afghanistan

The Taliban’s renewed seizure of power has Afghans living in Germany, among them many minors, extremely worried about their relatives. That is Ali´s situation. He came to Germany as an unaccompanied minor at the beginning of 2016. But without recognized refugee status, Ali has no right to bring his family here – even though he is under 18. The relatives, in turn, must obtain an entry visa for Germany, but only if they appear in person at a German embassy – in Islamabad or New Delhi as it is no longer possible in Kabul. Ali fears for his family. Time is running out. Source: rbb

Trans person dies of burns at Alexanderplatz

A trans person who set herself on fire at Alexanderplatz on Tuesday died in hospital. The background is unclear and the police are investigating. Based on findings so far, a political motivation can be ruled out. The 40-year-old trans person tried to burn herself without a word and without announcement in front of a department store. An employee extinguished the fire and alerted the Berlin fire brigade. An emergency doctor flew in by helicopter. According to the police, the person did not suffer any life-threatening injuries, but her condition deteriorated quickly. Source: Berliner Zeitung


AfD rise seems to have diminished in Brandenburg

So far, the AfD’s election results in Brandenburg have pointed steeply upwards. But the recent upsurges could now be over. The end of the AfD’s rise in Brandenburg began in the spring of 2020, when Brandenburg’s state and parliamentary group leader Andreas Kalbitz was kicked out of the party – but allowed to stay as sort of a ghost chairman. This might please the tightly-knit base, but scares off potential new AfD voters. By that time, the party was classified by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution as a suspected right-wing extremist case, too. And nothing has changed in that regard to this day. Source: rbb

Putting the brakes on the car lobby

It was a spectacle, but not so much for the benefit of the car lobbyists: the “IAA Mobility” trade fair in Munich was quite condemned by environmentalists. On Saturday, during a demonstration, the police used pepper spray on activists, journalists and paramedics. Union candidate for chancellor Armin Laschet criticized the protests when he spoke at the CSU party conference in Nuremberg, saying the fair was “the greenest IAA”. With this he unexpectedly hit the nail on the head. Climate activists pointed out, considering that just replacing one form of propulsion with another will not be enough. Source: jW

Party finances in the CDU: “Money is the most important thing!”

With 14.5 million euros in additional earnings, the CDU/CSU members of parliament are clearly ahead of all other parliamentary groups. Given this, a question arises: how does the CDU always manage to maintain its image as the people’s party? Voters should no longer be surprised if another one of their deals with special economic interests is exposed. This accumulation over decades clearly points to a structural problem, according to the book “Die Adenauer-CDU”. The book, among other aspects, points out to fundraising magazines such as the “Wirtschaftsbild”. This can be evidence for how the CDU manages to be closely linked to the economy, but not to transparency. Source: fr

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