Unions demonstrate for policy change

Several thousand people demonstrated on saturday for more social justice. The german federation of trade unions (DGB), which had called for the demonstration, spoke of over 20,000 participants nationwide. With the demonstrations, the DGB wanted to send out a signal for a "change in policy" put. The largest rally took place in hanover.

The DGB, which is neutral in terms of party politics as it sees it, is not making any direct election recommendations. DGB positions can be found primarily in the election programs of the SPD, the greens and the left-wing party. In concrete terms, the unions are calling for a flat-rate minimum wage of 8.50 euros, measures to combat old-age and wage poverty, and a rent brake. Union politicians accused the DGB of siding with red-green.

At the day of action, the DGB and seven of its member unions demanded, among other things, a statutory minimum wage, a secure pension and a social europe. In hannover, the capital of lower saxony, around 13.000 people on the road. In berlin, around 2,000 people demonstrated in front of the brandenburg gate. Events were also held in frankfurt/main and munich with several thousand participants.

Helga schwitzer, member of the executive board of IG metall, accused the federal government in hanover of pursuing the wrong pension policy: "not even one in three can imagine working until the statutory retirement age. 42 percent fear that their pensions will not be enough later on." The decision to retire at 67 is wrong, she stressed, and called instead for flexible exit options.

Frank bsirske, chairman of the trade union ver.Di, demanded better rules for the labor market: "we need a statutory minimum wage of 8.50 euros per hour at first. It must be made easier for collective agreements to be universally binding in the industries. And we need reliable and livelihood-securing employment, equal pay for temporary work."

In an interview with the business newspaper "euro bsirske calls for stricter taxation of gross wealth and capital transfers in germany. He cited the introduction of a wealth tax as an example. "Above one million euros net, we will set this at ten percent, above ten million at 20 percent, and above 100 million euros net at 30 percent", he said.

The employers' association gesamtmetall warned of a "backward role" in view of the demonstrations on the job market. Federation president rainer dulger spoke out in an interview with the "neue osnabrucker zeitung" (saturday) against central demands of the unions and the opposition from. "A statutory minimum wage increases youth unemployment, shuts the door on low-skilled workers and pushes them out of the labor market." 

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