Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Germany: cleaners launch general strike

Today, German cleaners have launched a general strike for decent wages and other employment conditions. Some 1,000 cleaners would have downed their tools and more are expected to join them today and tomorrow. In numerous offices, public institutions and hospitals, dirt is piling up and airplanes have to depart late or uncleaned, union IG BAU has announced. Measures have been taken to prevent problems at critical services such as intensive care facilities.
Among other things, the union demands a pay rise and a reduction of the pay gap between cleaners in the East and the West of Germany. Currently, the minimum wage is 8.15 euro per hour for cleaners in the West, and 6.58 in the East.
Many of the cleaners are immigrants. “We live in Europe, but our living conditions are not up to European standards,” cleaner Habibe Karafil told newspaper Milliyet.
Union density has among Germany’s 860,000 cleaners has been estimated at 10%, but the union expects that non-members will join in the strike.
See also the 8.7% weblog. Support the cleaners on Facebook

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