News from Berlin and Germany, 21st February 2024

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Police violence at Liebknecht-Luxemburg demo in Berlin

“The last thing I remember is the police approaching us,” says an 74-year-old in an interview with nd about the Luxemburg-Liebknecht demonstration in Berlin on January 14. “The next thing I remember is waking up in the intensive care unit.” He was lucky and kept his alive. The demonstration was accompanied by paramedics who were able to rescue and quickly ventilate the unconscious man. “The doctors are optimistic that I probably won’t develop epilepsy,” the attacked man said, speaking slowly. “But I’ll probably never be able to hear properly in my left ear again.” Source: nd-aktuell

Postbank employees in Berlin to go on warning strike

The trade union ver.di had called for a warning strike at Postbank. On Monday, employees from nine Postbank branches in Berlin and from the former Postbank Classic division stopped work for the whole day. The first round of collective bargaining was disappointing. The employer had not recognised the additional efforts made by employees over the past year, it said. The union is demanding a salary increase of 15.5 per cent, with a minimum of 600 euro raise, and an increase in the training salary of 250 euros for a period of 12 months. The collective bargaining negotiations will enter the next round on February 26. Source: tagesspiegel

Protest outside Russian embassy after Navalny’s death

Over the weekend, hundreds gathered outside the Russian embassy on Unter den Linden to pay respect to the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Last Friday, Russian authorities announced the death of 47-year-old Navalny, who was being held in a Russian prison camp. Considered one of President Vladamir Putin’s biggest political enemies, Navalny was serving a 19-year sentence in a prison camp in the Arctic Circle on charges including extremism. Back in 2020, Navalny spent over a month at Berlin’s Charité hospital after being poisoned. In September of that year, German officials announced that were was “unequivocal proof” that he was poisoned with a Soviet-era Novichock chemical nerve agent. Source: exberliner

Employment agency to offer more support to Ukrainian refugees

Two years after the start of the war in Ukraine, the employment agency in Berlin wants to step up its efforts to place Ukrainian refugees in the labour market. Integration courses are now coming to an end for most of people “and now we are getting started,” said Ramona Schröder, Managing Director of the Berlin-Brandenburg regional office of the agency. She also commented that the language courses in Germany were not always successful. When asked why countries such as Poland and the Netherlands are much further along in integrating Ukrainian refugees into the labour market, Schröder referred to the different framework conditions that apply there. Source: tagesschau



Union calls on employees of major cinema chains to strike

The service trade union ver.di has called on employees of the cinema chains CinemaxX and CineStar to strike last Thursday as part of nationwide wage negotiations. The strike is to last four days. Ver.di acknowledged that CineStar is prepared to offer improvements in the current wage negotiations. The union believes nevertheless the current offer from the cinema employers is “completely inadequate and unacceptable”. Accordingly, the current offer only provides for five cents more than the statutory minimum wage for the induction phase. With the warning strike ver.di hopes for improvements in the upcoming negotiations. Source: t-online

Transport strikes for Lower Saxony

The German trade union ver.di has announced that public transport workers went on strike in Lower Saxony on February 19 and 20. This includes public transport workers in Hanover, Braunschweig, Osnabrück, Göttingen, Wolfsburg and Goslar. Transportation in Bremen, which is a city-state, and Wilhelmshaven are not affected. The strike impacts public transport services which employ workers in connection with the TV-N (Tarifvertrag Nahverkehr) collective bargaining agreement. The union is currently in the third negotiating round with local transport associations and demands, among other things, an additional holiday leave and that driving to be recognised as shift work. Source: iamexpat

Lufthansa ground staff to go on warning strike

The service union ver.di has called on Lufthansa ground staff to strike again. According to the union, employees are to strike from 4.00 a.m. on Tuesday until 7.10 a.m. on Wednesday if Lufthansa and ver.di have not reached an agreement in the wage dispute. Airports in Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Cologne-Bonn and Stuttgart will be affected. In the beginning of this month another strike was held. It largely paralysed flight operations at the Lufthansa hubs in Frankfurt and Munich with around 900 of 1,000 planned flights were cancelled. Source: tagesschau

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