News from Berlin and Germany, 23rd February 2023

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Berlin strikes in March

The nationwide collective bargaining round in the public sector will likely escalate at the beginning of March. And the United Services Union (ver.di) is planning to strike the participating employers during this time – work stoppages are being prepared that could last several days. In Berlin, these warning strikes would affect the city cleaning service (BSR), the Vivantes clinics, the Charité, the Jewish Hospital, the water companies, the College of Applied Sciences and the Student Union. The decisive factor will be whether employers move significantly towards the union’s positions in the next round of negotiations on 22 and 23 February. Source: tagesspiege

Action against deportation from BER

According to information from the Brandenburg Refugee Council, 34 people were deported to Pakistan against their will last Wednesday. Beforehand, activists had tried to prevent the deportation. Since the afternoon, around 200 demonstrators blocked all three access roads to Terminal 5 of BER for hours. They wanted to prevent people from being brought onto the airport grounds. Divided into groups, the activists blocked the main entrance on Willy-Brandt-Strasse, a second entrance via a car park and the rear entrance on Kirchstrasse. However, in the evening, the deportation plane to Islamabad was able to take off – with all likelihood from another terminal. Source: taz

Syrian woman dies after fire in Berlin-Pankow

Last Monday, Syrian family A. mourned the loss of a family member. Ten days ago, the 43-year-old woman, wife and mother of six, Yazi A., died having been severely injured in a fire on January 25. A serious fire broke out in the stairwell of an apartment building in the Pankow district of Französisch Buchholz. The case received attention after being tweeted about by Tarek Baé. The activist criticized the media and politicians in numerous tweets for not reporting on the new developments in the case until ten days after Yazi’s death. Source: tagesspiegel

Tesla postpones battery construction plans in Germany

Tesla is delaying its plans to manufacture entire batteries in Germany. The focus on complete cell production is currently in the USA due to tax incentives according to a Tesla spokeswoman. “We have started local assembly of battery systems at the Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg and are in the production ramp-up phase” the American company said. Company boss Elon Musk had announced the Berlin Gigafactory to be the largest battery factory in the world. When it opened in March 2022, he said the battery plant would reach mass production by the end of 2023. Source: dw


No more excuses on equal pay

An important loophole for employers trying to wriggle out of the European law requirement of “equal pay for equal work” has finally been closed with the ruling of the Federal Labour Court. It is more worthwhile than ever to inquire about wage differences in ones company, to question them and, if in doubt, to file a complaint against them. Above all, the ruling means: Discrimination is forbidden on the basis of gender: Everyone doing the same work is entitled to the same rate of pay. The decision of the court will mean the presumption is that if there is a pay differential for equal work, there is discrimination, which the employer must rebut with objective reasons. Source: taz

Inflation rate rises to 8.7 per cent in January

Inflation in Germany accelerated significantly at the beginning of the year. Consumer prices rose by an average of 8.7 per cent in January compared to the same month last year, the Federal Statistical Office reported. Compared to the previous month, prices rose by 1.0 per cent. Experts had expected for a stronger inflation – however this is also due to the statistics office changing the weighting within the basket of goods used for its estimation. The question now, among economists, is how quickly the inflation rate might fall. This will depend on how energy prices move, but we could see inflation rates falling at a fast pace. Source: spiegel

Stübgen calls for “migration control”

When it comes to housing and integrating refugees, Interior Minister Michael Stübgen (CDU) sees Brandenburg’s municipalities as at their limits. The interior minister called for stronger limits on immigration and faster deportation of rejected asylum seekers. The federal government must do more to repatriate immigrants who have no prospect of a legal right to remain, he also said. Last year, Brandenburg’s municipalities took in around 39,000 refugees, most of them from Ukraine. On the topic of immigration, Andrea Johlige, an MP from the Left Party, says that municipalities need to be better equipped, with more social infrastructure, staff in schools and housing as well. Source: rbb

Germany expels two Iranian diplomats after death sentence

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) announced that the German government has expelled two Iranian diplomats in response to the death sentence passed by a court in Tehran against German-Iranian Djamshid Sharmahd. The Iranian judiciary holds Sharmahd responsible for planning several terrorist attacks. The court also charged him with cooperating with foreign intelligence services. The accusations cannot be verified. Baerbock explained she summoned the chargé d’affaires of the Iranian in view of the death sentence. He was informed “we do not accept this massive violation of the rights of a German citizen”. Source: dw

Tags: ,