News from Berlin and Germany, 26th April 2023

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany



Warning strike last Friday: BVG was not affected

Last Friday, commuters and travelers prepared themselves for far-reaching restrictions on long-distance and regional services operated by Deutsche Bahn and other transport companies. The Railway and Transport Union (EVG) called for warning strikes lasting several hours. Between 3 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Friday, employees of all railroad companies where negotiations had taken place stopped working. The Berlin transport authority (BVG) announced that its personnel would not be taking part in that strike, though. Regional trains in Berlin and Brandenburg were anyway affected as well since Deutsche Bahn was on strike. Source:

Police no longer want to dialogue with climate activists

From Monday on, “Last Generation” wants to make Berlin stop. Only when the federal government agrees to the group’s demands will the protests end. The number of participants has grown: according to the climate group, around 1,000 people signed up for this permanent protest. During the blockade wave last October, there were 80. The public prosecutor’s office in Berlin sees no reason to classify the “Last Generation” as a criminal organisation. On the other hand, the Neuruppin public prosecutor’s office assumes the purpose of the group is to commit offenses of “enough burden”. Source: tagesspiegel

Giffey to become senator for economic affairs

Now that the SPD has voted by a narrow majority to form a coalition with the CDU in Berlin, the group’s senators have been decided. As expected, the former governing mayor Franziska Giffey will take over the economic portfolio. Her party colleague Cansel Kiziltepe will be responsible for labour and social affairs. Iris Spranger will continue to be responsible for the interior. On the CDU side, unsurprisingly, Kai Wegner becomes mayor. Stefan Evers will take over the finance portfolio. Manja Schreiner is to be responsible for transport, Katharina Günther-Wünsch for education. Joe Chialo will be senator for culture. Source: spiegel


Basis against Wagenknecht’s confidant

In the Left Party in North Rhine-Westphalia, the pressure is growing around former top candidate Sahra Wagenknecht, who is considering leaving the party. With a clear majority, the Bochum district association passed a resolution last Thursday evening directed “against all threats of splitting by prominent members”. Such a resolution has a sound target: Bochum is the constituency of the close Wagenknecht confidant Sevim Dağdelen. Also, of the six members of the Bundestag elected via the NRW state list, only state party leader Kathrin Vogler has so far “clearly positioned herself against the threat of division.” Source: taz

How AfD grows within the German right

The AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) was created a decade ago, and it has managed to establish itself as a constant presence in Germany’s parliament. Now, it challenges the Christian Democrats, seeking to tear down historic barriers to the far-right. The face of the party has quite changed: whereas conservative Euroscepticism was the dominant theme in its early days, AfD today represents largely a far-right party. Nevertheless, there is a constant: from the beginning, AfD sought to unite the political spectrum to the right of the CDU and its traditional coalition partner, the neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP). Source: Jacobin

“Like the citizens’ movement in the GDR”: researchers support Last Generation

Under the motto “Negotiation instead of criminalisation”, a group of German-speaking scientists advocates a better and more objective way of dealing with climate campaigners of the Last Generation. “Individual administrative offences and selective violations of the law”, according to the declaration signed by more than 1,600 researchers, are legitimate forms of protest in view of the urgent need for political action. The researchers see the Last Generation in the tradition of other great protest movements, such as “the civil rights movement in the GDR”. However, social indignation is currently directed against climate activists. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution classifies the group as non-extremist. Source: berliner zeitung

Working hours: trusting is ok, but controlling is even better

Lately, the term “Home office” is often used. But what counts as paid work at home? Who controls it? Already before Christmas, Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) had promised he would present a proposal regarding it. Currently, he plans a legal obligation to record working hours electronically, referring to a corresponding draft law. Employers’ associations and trade unions could also agree on aspects such as “non-electronic” or retrospective recording of working time to be conceivable. There should also be special regulations for small companies. The influential Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) is also very critical of Heil’s draft. Source: dw

Germany: new strikes threaten rail and air traffic

After the strike and before the strike: on Wednesday, 26 April, travellers and commuters have to expect restrictions in public transport. There could also be new strikes in rail and air traffic in the coming days and weeks. The trade union ver.di plans actions in Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg. There could also be strikes at Deutsche Bahn in the next few days. The railway and transport union EVG is threatening new actions if DB does not present a better negotiation offer at the round of talks on Tuesday, 25 April. Source: adac

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