News from Berlin and Germany, 31st May 2023

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Why so many votes for Erdogan in Berlin

In contrast to many other European metropolises, the old and new Turkish President Erdogan was ahead in the German capital. According to rbb columnist Cem Dalaman, Erdoğan won because his supporters, including in Berlin, are afraid of change. Dalaman goes on to say that “he [Erdogan] has successfully hammered into their heads that he cares for them like a father”. He goes on to say that the opposition was neither strong or well-organised enough. This might count for those Berliners of Turkish origin who do not feel picked up by German politics, considering as well if they have had racist experiences. He closes his article by saying “Erdogan is also the strong man for them, their protector. An image that catches. Whether we like it or not”. Source: rbb

What lies behind the Tesla data leak

Customer bank details, employee addresses, internal information on battery production: the data leak at Tesla is massive. How was this able to happen? One potential reason is Tesla’s internal organisation. Despite its size, the company is still structured more like a start-up tailored to its boss. Also, what does it mean for the Tesla factory in Grünheide? If the suspicion that Tesla’s internal IT security precautions are inadequate is confirmed, the company will have to make improvements in its German factory. Since the data leak involves data from customers across Europe, the Brandenburg data protection authority passed the case on to the Netherlands, where Tesla has its European headquarters. Source: rbb


Nationwide raid against Last Generation

Time and again, members of the Last Generation cause a stir with their actions, demanding better climate policy. Last week there were large-scale raids in seven federal states (Hesse, Hamburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Bavaria, Berlin and Schleswig-Holstein). The justification given for the searches relates to numerous criminal charges filed since the middle of last year. In addition, the group’s homepage was seized and shut down on the instructions of the public prosecutor’s office. The accusation is the formation or support of a criminal organisation. Many climate protection activists have reacted with sharp criticism. Source: dw

When even two jobs are not enough to live on

More than 3.5 million people in Germany have more than one job. This number has more than doubled in the past 20 years. Now the general secretary of the service sector union ver.di has said that Germany is becoming a low-wage country: “At twelve euros minimum wage, one earns a little less than 2,200 euros for a 42-hour week full-time. That is only about 60 per cent of the average income in Germany and thus not enough to live on.” According to the Paritätischer Armutsbericht (Parity Poverty Report), almost 17 percent of the population in Germany were recently affected by poverty. Source: tagesschau

Ver.di: new members, new responsibilities

Whether from the Deutsche Post, the civil service or the Deutsche Bahn: strike action has been on the rise since the beginning of 2023. The DGB unions negotiate for around eleven million workers, and in times of inflation, the need for organised negotiations is particularly great. It is in this context that Ver.di has gained 100,000 new members since the beginning of the year. We can all be happy about this, ver.di especially. However, the increased power and strength that these numbers represent entail obligations. Otherwise, the trend reversal of decreasing union membership will soon be over. It is not only a question of trade unions not promising their members what they cannot deliver, but also about involving their members in decision-making processes. Source: nd-aktuell

Genç family: determined against racism

On May 29 1993 there was an arson attack on the house of the Genç family in Solingen. Two young women and three girls died. The victims were daughters, granddaughters, and a niece of Mevlüde and Durmus Genç, who immigrated to Germany in the 1970s. The attack in Solingen is one of the most serious racist attacks in post-war German history. On the 30th anniversary, high-ranking politicians and representatives of the German and Turkish state will again come to the commemoration ceremony. However, Germany still owes to all the victims of racism the wish of Mevlüde Genç for a respectful and peaceful coexistence. Source: nd-aktuell

No reason to celebrate

The Minister for the Economy, Robert Habeck (Greens), has announced a relaxation of the proposed “heating exchange law”, which plans to make to heating of house more environmentally friendly. In doing so, he is taking account of the immense public uproar and the falling poll ratings for the Greens. This is understandable – but is bad news. Homeowners who believe they will benefit from rule loosening are mistaken. Once anyone who has a new ‘eco-friendly’ gas or oil heating system installed will soon be groaning under the rising costs of fossil fuels. Only if industry is forced to change over very quickly to climate friendly heating will this become the standard and thus cheaper. Source: taz

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