The Berlin campaign "Ban Outsourcing and Temporary Employment" fights against unequal pay in state-owned companies.
Striving for damage limitation: protest against outsourcing in front of the Charite Photo: RubyImages/F. Boillot
To prevent the worst from happening, the only thing that helps many employees in state-owned companies is to fight back: according to the Senate Department for Finance, Berlin’s state-owned companies have around 100 subsidiaries. Their employees often do the same work as colleagues who are directly employed by the parent company. But they are paid significantly less. The difference is often several hundred euros a month, plus worse working hours.
Some employees in Berlin’s state-owned companies are fighting back – sometimes with success: The labor dispute of employees at the Charite subsidiary "Physiotherapie- und Praventionszentrum GmbH" (CPPZ), which was spun off in 2009, has paid off, as has that of employees at the Botanic Garden, who were outcoached in 2007 to the subsidiary "Betriebsgesellschaft Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum." The latter subsidiary was dissolved on January 1, 2018. CPPZ employees will be reincorporated into Charite as of January 1, 2020, according to a supervisory board resolution.
However, because some of the affected workforces are not only concerned about their own interests, but the bigger picture, they have now joined forces in the campaign "Ban outsourcing and fixed-term contracts". On Wednesday evening, interested parties gathered at the invitation of the collective labornet.tv for a film screening with discussion at the Neukolln pub K-Fetisch.
Ramazan Bayram from the Berlin Initiative against Employer Injustice presented the goals of the campaign: All subsidiaries should be immediately returned to the parent companies, while fixed-term contracts should be banned. "We have to make the public sector take responsibility," Bayram said.
More pressure on managing directors
That evening, employees of the Botanical Garden and BVG reported on the conditions and struggles in their companies. The latter has also had a wholly owned subsidiary, Berlin Transport GmbH, since the end of the 1990s.
If the Red-Red-Green Party were to consistently pursue the goals it has set for itself, however, the employees would not have to fight at all. This is because R2G has stated in the coalition agreement that collective bargaining agreements in accordance with the TVoD (collective bargaining agreement for the public sector) must be concluded in all state companies and subsidiaries that are not yet bound by collective bargaining agreements. On outsourcing, it says: "The coalition will prevent outsourcing in public institutions and companies with the sole aim of breaking away from collective bargaining obligations."
When asked by the taz, for example, the labor market policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group in the House of Representatives, Lars Dusterhoft, professed his support for this goal: "All state-owned companies and subsidiaries should pay according to collective bargaining agreements. We will also address the further reintegration of the subsidiaries in the budget negotiations."
Katina Schubert, state chairwoman of the Left Party, also sees it that way: "It is the declared goal of the Left Party to reintegrate the outsourced subsidiaries into the parent companies." To this end, the Senate must exert more pressure on the management of the public companies via supervisory board mandates and specialist supervision.