Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In Germany the , Freie Arbeiterinnen und Arbeiter Union, Free Workers' Union (FAU), the German section of the AIT-IWA, carries on the historical tradition of anarchosyndicalism. For almost a year now the workers of the FAU have been struggling for a collective agreement with the management of Berlin's 'New Babylon Cinema'. Through this time management has employed various legal manoeuvres to try and avoid recognition of the union. Here is the latest example, a temporary court injunction against the union. From the A-Infos site...
Germany, FAU Berlin may no longer be called union:
The Free Workers Union Berlin has, on 11.12.2009 by a temporary injunction of the Berlin district court, been prohibited from calling itself a union or base union. This is the culmination of a series of attempts of New Babylon Berlin GmbH to take legal action against the strongest and most active union workers in the company. ---- Without hearing the district court followed the reasoning (argumentation) of the opposing side, who already in October got the Labour court to divest FAU Berlin of it's union status. In this judgement although the FAU Berlin was forbidden the boycott of the cinema, the union status, however, was not negotiable. ---- It is a novelty (new factor) in German law, that an organisation would be forbidden to call itself a union.
It is all the more absurd, if it concerns an organization that has for a good year led a labor dispute, which ultimately forced collective bargaining.
"This attack on the fundamental right of freedom of association is a union ban (in the sense of immediacy). It is our understanding that it is still always the workers themselves, who decide how they organise themselves. Should this decision survive/be long lasting, it is not only an attack against the FAu but against every form of independent grassroots/base organising." said Lars Rohm, Secretary of the FAU Berlin.
The FAU Berlin announced, however, to take action against this decision.
Chronology of the conflict in Babylon Cinema
*13/02/2009 Rally of the FAU Berlin in front of the cinema for higher wages during the Berlinale
*11/03/2009 Dismissal of employee and active member of the FAU
*04/06/2009 Presentation of the collective agreement of the FAU at the Babylon cinema
*17/06/2009 Rejection of collective bargaining by the New Babylon Berlin GmbH
*25/06/2009 Demonstration for the establishment of collective bargaining with the FAU
*13/07/2009 Calling for a boycott of the cinema by the FAU Berlin with the aim of bringing management to the negotiating table
*23/07/2009 Expansion of industrial action/workers struggle onto the second GmbH the management operated open air cinemas
*29/07/2009 Complaint for trespassing against members of the FAU Berlin at a leaflet campaign in the cinema
*03/09/2009 Intervention in the labor dispute by verdi
*25/09/2009 Protests of the FAU Berlin at the "Left Cinema Night" in Babylon Mitte. „Die Linke“ distributed flyers on which it indicates mediator/arbitrator of the intervention is ver.dis
*06/10/2009 First official meeting between ver.di and the FAU Berlin about forming a Tarifgemeinschaft (I think they mean common rate?)
*07/10/2009 Temporary injunction by the Labor Court Berlin prohibiting the boycott at the request of the New Babylon Berlin GmbH
*12/12/2009 Prohibition against FAU Berlin, by preliminary injunction, to describe themselves as a trade union or base trade union by the Berlin District Court on application by the New Babylon Berlin GmbH
Well, from the above it is certainly plain which side the German courts are on. The only way that the FAU can win through in this fight is by political pressure. Here, from an English section of their mostly German website is what they suggest you can do in solidarity.
How to support us?:
Get involved: Solidarity is our weapon!
English: Here you find every information you need to support the FAU Berlin.Deutsch: Hier findet ihr alle nötigen Informationen, um die FAU Berlin zu unterstützen.
You can help us – amongst your own ideas – by:
♠Carrying out protest actions in front of German diplomatic missions (embassies, consulates) or other institutions that represent the German state.
♠Sending protest letters to German embassies in your country, including a carbon copy to the management of the Kino Babylon Mitte.
♠Sending protest faxes to the responsible Berlin court.

Here you find a list of all German diplomatic missions. Look if there is an embassy or consulate in your city. This file also includes information on how to contact the embassy in your country. The listed country names are given in German.
Here you find – if necessary – a table to find out how your country's name is in German.
Here [soon to come] templates for protest letters you can direct to the German embassy.
The contact to the Management of the cinema Babylon Mitte is:
Fax: +49 - (0)30 - 24727-800
The contact to the competent court (Landgericht Berlin) is:Fax: +49 (0)30 90188 - 518
Here [soon to come] templates for protest letters you can direct to the Landgericht (court).
Please stay tuned to the FAU website (or later here at Molly's Blog) for the details from the German comrades.

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