“There will be strikes”: employees of coburg’s disabled aid organization demand collective bargaining agreement

Now it’s a case of wait and see: around 400 employees of the "help for the disabled child" association currently preparing for collective bargaining negotiations. Strikes are not ruled out. 51 percent of the association’s three subsidiaries, the curative education facilities, the school support center and the medical-therapeutic facilities, were taken over by wefa (gemeinnutzige werkstatten fur angepasste arbeit) last year. But frustration about what employees see as unfair wages remained.

A flat-rate pay scale at the level of the public sector, a collective bargaining agreement for all employees and regulated further training – that’s what the workforce is demanding from wefa management. The berlin collective bargaining secretariat of verdi must now confirm the demands and in turn forward the request for negotiations to the employer. "Then it will start right away, hopefully before the summer vacations", says magdalene majeed, who as verdi union secretary is in close contact with the employees.

Missed appointments

Communication between operating rates and management, on the other hand, has deteriorated further. The direct superiors of the three facilities are no longer accessible for the problems of their employees. "Deacon frank already misses many appointments and gives no reason for this", majeed complains about the wefa manager. "He invents excuses and has been stalling the operating rate for months." i can’t understand this criticism myself. He recently took part in a meeting of the works council. "Of course it has happened that I have been absent from a meeting when other terribly important things have come up", the deacon justifies himself.

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It is also unclear whether the existing works council will be abolished and an employee representative body introduced instead. "But it would have taken a business transition to make it happen", explains majeed. "I hope that we will beat him to it. Otherwise we would take legal action against it."

The option of selling the medical-therapeutic facilities to regiomed, for example, is also on the table. "The facility has a different financing structure, which is why mr. Already can’t do anything with it", majeed explains. In the event of a spin-off, the takeover of the employees would not be guaranteed. "I think that the therapy was preserved, but perhaps in a different form."

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The current mood within the staff is marked by anger. But also from the hope for change. At two summer festivals, employees have already affirmed their demand for a collective bargaining agreement with printed t-shirts. However, these were rather "low-threshold" cases actions, says majeed. If wefa refuses to negotiate, the employees will resort to more drastic measures. "There will be strikes. The colleagues are ready for it", majeed assures.

Quick solution for tariff demands

Deacon already gives little hope for a solution, at least on the point of the staff agreement. The need for assistance is ultimately based on the number of children attending an institution. "I am endeavoring to reach a reasonable and up-to-date collective agreement as quickly as possible", he comments on the discussion. "I’m working on it with my team under high pressure. But that does not happen as quickly as the employees would like."

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