Let‘s fight racism! Refugees are colleagues as well, bring them into the unions!

Junge GEW gegen Rassismus
Let‘s fight racism! Refugees are colleagues as well, bring them into the unions! Wednesday, December 3, 6:00 PM IG-Metall-Haus, Alte Jakobstraße 149 U-Bhf Hallesches Tor, Berlin


On 25th of September, the group Refugee Struggle for Freedom and activists occupied the regional headquarters of the DGB (German trade union confederation) in Berlin. One of the refugees‘ central demands is getting access to trade union membership. They hope to struggle together with their German colleagues for achieving legal equality in the labour market.

The trade union bureaucracy‘s response has been hesitant but clear: On 2nd October they called the police to evict the group. What followed in the aftermath were criminal charges instead of solidarity.

The refugees see themselves as a part of the working class, of those who depend on wage labour. They fled from their countries because of dictatorship, wars, and crisis – results of the capitalist system of our society. This system nowadays controls who is allowed to enter Europe with the help of Frontex, a European border control agency, directed by a rigid immigration- and asylum policy, that is stated in the treaties of Dublin II and III. Based on this, the decision is made and implemented who is allowed or denied the human right to asylum and enter Europe or respectively Germany.

The growing number of people seeking asylum shows: The number of colleagues fleeing from wars, dictatorship and misery will not decrease. At the same time the workers in Germany are facing an increase of precarious work and bad working conditions. We can‘t let ourselves be played of against each other. We have to learn to think and fight together against the causes of flight and expulsion in some countries and of impoverishment and precarisation in other countries.

At this point a combative trade union is needed more then ever, which means breaking with national corporatism for the sake of competitiveness and social partnership.

In Hamburg we have seen first attempts towards a joint struggle when colleagues from ver.di (German service union) made it possible for 300 refugees from Lampedusa to enter their ranks. Though this decision has been overturned by the leadership of ver.di the struggle continues! What we want to do is bringing the refugees‘ struggle into the member unions of the DGB and organise practical solidarity.

Our understanding of trade union includes overcoming the divisions of the working class that are constructed along nationalities, gender or religious believes, that‘s what international solidarity means to us.

We demand of our unions and their leadership:

  • Engagement for complete and equal rights for all colleagues living in Germany, independent of their nationality and also for those colleagues who had to flee from civil wars, wars and despotism in their home countries.
  • Drop all legal charges resulting from the eviction from the DGB in Berlin on 2nd October!
  • Access of refugee colleagues to trade union membership!
  • Information and Discussion rounds about the situation of refugees during workplace assemblies, trust people‘s meetings, union meetings (A first step in that direction had been undertaken by the GEW (trade union for education and science) Berlin, that showed solidarity with the refugees‘ demands as a reaction to the eviction.)

We want to win other unions to also support our aims and we need to discuss:

  • How the membership of refugees in unions can be achieved
  • How the decisions of the DGB unions concerning asylum policies can be put into practice
  • What we, trade union activists, can do ourselves

Therefore we cordially invite all of you to join the discussion and participate in our event: „Refugees into the unions!“

- Lampedusa in Hamburg
- Peter Bremme (ver.di Hamburg*)
- Rainer Hansel (GEW Berlin)
- Refugee Struggle for Freedom
- Anna Basten, (ver.di AK undokumentierte Arbeit)
- Turgay Ulu (Refugee-Activist, Berlin)
* position only mentioned to identify the person

AK Internationalismus der IG Metall, BVG-Basisgewerkschaftsgruppe ver.di aktivBündnis Refugee Schul- und Unistreik


Wednesday, December 3, 6:00 PM
IG-Metall-Haus, Alte Jakobstraße 149
U-Bhf Hallesches Tor, Berlin