Summary of the global day of protest in solidarity with FAU Berlin

Textile workers from Dhaka, Bangladesh

On january 29/30, 2010, there were protests in at least 56 cities in 20 countries against a verdict that prohibits workers in Berlin from affiliating themselves with the union of their choice. The bosses at the Babylon Mitte Cinema managed to find a court to ban the FAU Berlin workers association from calling itself a union and are now trying to get the FAU Berlin charged with fines or even imprisoned. The is a month-long labor dispute between the FAU shop-floor and the management. More information about the conflict can be found at the FAU German language special section and our English language special section.

We received reports about protests at Aachen (Germany), Berlin (Germany), Bonn (Germany), Darmstadt (Germany), Duisburg (Germany), Düsseldorf (Germany), Frankfurt/M (Germany), Fukuoka (Japan), Halle/Saale (Germany), Hamburg (Germany), Hannover (Germany), Karlsruhe (Germany), Kassel (Germany), Kiel (Germany), Leipzig (Germany), Moers (Germany), Münster (Germany), Nürnberg (Germany), Recklinghausen (Germany), Schwerin (Germany), Alicante (Spain), Athen (Greece), Barcelona (Spain), Bern (Switzerland), Bilbao (Spain), Bratislava (Slovakia), Brüssel (Belgium), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Dublin (Irland), Florenz (Italy), Granada (Spain), Göteborg (Sweden), Jerez (Spain), Katrineholm (Sweden), Kiev (Ukrainia), Kopenhagen (Denmark), Leeds (UK), Lille (France), Liverpool (UK), London (UK), Madrid (Spain), Malaga (Spain), Marseille (France), Oslo (Norway), Paris (France), Philadelphia (USA), Phoenix (USA), Plauen (Germany), Stuttgart (Germany), Thessaloniki (Greece), Triest (Italy), 2 x Valencia (Spain), Wellington (New Zealand), Wien (Austria), Zaragoza (Spain) so far.

We'd like to thank all those of you in Germany and all around the planet who expressed their solidarity with the FAU Berlin, and their disgust with the management of the Babylon Mitte Cinema and the scandalous verdicts of the Berlin courts. We are deeply touched that we have been the cause of one of the biggest waves of international solidarity within the anti-authoritarian workers movement in the the past years. We also would like to thank all those in Germany and other corners of the planet who took action but did not send in reports. And of course those like the Freeters union in Japan, who will take action in the coming days. The struggle has just begun. We were therefore glad to hear that many more unions and organisations - though they did not manage to do anything this time - have announced that they will take action next time. For reports and any further information please contact soli-faub@fau.org

Comments

MT
Feb 4 2010 13:59

thanks for summary. I just would like to ask if people in Japan made an action or just wrote a soli statement. because they are not part of the special section with reports yet. Priama akcia prepares a report about the action days so I just want to clarify if the list contains mix of actions and statements or only actions. thanks.
btw, you have missed Lille in the summary;)

Farce
Feb 4 2010 14:23

Think there's meant to be a demo outside the German consulate in Leeds tomorrow as well.

robot
Feb 4 2010 14:27

The freeters from Fukuoka made a ralley on december 24 and there will be another one on saturday. So both were not exactly on january 29/30, but we decided to include them so that they did not get lost. There are nice fotos from the first one we did not have the time to publish yet. Thanks for the hint with Lille, I guess we are about to lose track of all those actions wink

robot
Feb 4 2010 14:31

Will you send us a short report? There were some protests we did not get any notice of but found out by monitoring the internet, like Dublin, Granada and some others. By the way, we are just about to prepare a little thank-you for all those, that send us their reports and thus their e-mail address. Just wait a couple of days wink

charlie520
Feb 4 2010 17:00

POG in Pittsburgh is doing their thing too to show solidarity.

robot
Feb 6 2010 19:10

Could someone please approve the pending moderation for the text and delete this comment afterwords? We added a couple of more cities to the list.

Farce
Feb 7 2010 22:30

Leeds report:

On the 5th of Feb, Leeds AF held a demonstration alongside West Yorkshire Solidarity Federation and Leeds Class War in front of the office of the German Honorary Consul in Leeds to protest the ban of the FAU-B, the Berlin section of the Freie Arbeiterinnen- und Arbeiter-Union (Free Workers Union, or FAU). A letter protesting the persecution of the FAU was handed to the consul, and leaflets were distributed to workers and passers-by explaining the dispute and expressing our solidarity with our comrades in Germany.

robot
Feb 9 2010 04:31

While international protests are continuing after january 29/30 FAU Berlin issued another update on the recent situation. The text includes information about the next steps, including action during the 60. international Berlinale film festival and an opposition proceedings on february 16, against a verdict denying FAU Berlin the ability to do collective bargaining

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LATEST NEWS ABOUT THE REPRESSION AGAINST FAU BERLIN / MORE MOBILIZATIONS

Table of content:

1. Dear comrades, friends and supporters
2. Information: Fine or jail imminent for FAU Berlin
3. Mobilization during the BERLINALE festival
4. More ways to support us during the BERLINALE festival
5. More information / How to contact us

(February 6, 2010)

1. -- DEAR COMRADES, FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS,

we'd like to thank you for your support during the global action days. The impressive international solidarity you have shown us has invigorated us in our struggle with German class justice and the bossholes at the Babylon Mitte Cinema. We were moved to see support pour in from around the world for the FAU Berlin's fight for recognition as a union.

Thanks to your participation, the action days were a complete success and have sent a signal that the de-facto ban of the FAU Berlin won't be accepted. The courts must now recognize that any attempt to silence grassroots workers' organizations will not remain unanswered.

The fight for union freedoms in Germany has only now begun; we will have to organize further days of actions and direct actions and attend more court hearings before we win this. Even before the global action days, a lot of you already held protests and sent protest letter. Some of you have already signalled that you have planned more actions for the near future. We will have to continue to keep up the pressure to get through this and are thankful for any contribution you may make.

In the next weeks we will be turning up the heat on the Babylon by involving the BERLINALE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL - which has the Babylon as one of its venues - in our protests. We have planned a protest in front of the Babylon on February 14th and a demonstration through Berlin on the February 20th, both during the festival.

An injury to one is an attack to all!

Prohibition committee of the FAU Berlin

Information about the ban and events: http://www.fau.org/verbot/en

2. -- INFORMATION: FINE OR JAIL IMMINENT FOR FAU BERLIN

Any day now, the Berlin Regional Court can fine FAU Berlin (FAU-B) members or send them to jail. This is because the bosses at the Babylon Mitte Cinema want the FAU-B (a workers' association in which Babylon +employees are organized) charged for calling itself a "union" in disregard of a court order preventing it from doing so.

The Babylon bosses have lodged a corresponding complaint with the courts and the FAU Berlin has filed a rejoinder. The court must now decide whether to charge the FAU-B. No hearing is required for the court to make its decision, thus the FAU-B no longer has any legal influence on the decision.

We do not know when the court will reach its decision - it could be today, it could be in two weeks. How the court will decide is also impossible to predict. Basic common sense dictates that the Babylon's motion is absurd. However, Berlin's judiciary has already shown that it will not tolerate the FAU-B calling itself a union. Anything is possible.

The amount of the impending fine is also unknown. It could be up to 250,000 euros. If the FAU-B cannot pay the fine, then jail time of up to six months is inevitable.

FAU-B members are thus being threatened with jail time just for saying the word "union". This makes every move we make a dangerous one. This is obviously part of a strategy to incapacitate and shut up the FAU-B; we won't be silenced, though.

Stay tuned for the latest information; we may need your solidarity shortly.

3. -- MOBILIZATION DURING THE BERLINALE FESTIVAL

We will be organzing protests during the 60. international Berlinale film festival (february 14 to 20, 2010) and around the next court trials. There will be a protest meeting on february 14, a mobilization for the trial at february 16 and a larger demonstration on february 20, starting at the location where the Berlinale closing event is taking place. Apart from this we are trying to organize a variety of protests. Of mayor imporance for us is the demonstration for union freedom on february 20 for which we are mobilizing as good as we can, not only at Berlin but at a federal level.

Comrades, friends and supportes from outside Berlin or Germany are cordially invited to join in for the demonstration. We will organize a place to stay. You may contact faub11@fau.org if you need one.

The demonstration starts on 18.00 at Potsdamer Platz, close to the Berlinale palace.

We will try to translate the call to protest for the demonstration of february 20 into English within the next few days. Please check http://www.fau.org/verbot/en for it.

4. -- MORE WAYS TO SUPPORT US DURING THE BERLINALE FESTIVAL

Another possibility to support us might be to put pressure on the Berlinale.Attached you will find a sample letter of protest you may send in to the Berlinale.

Contact data are:
Fax: +49 30 25920299
E-Mail: info@berlinale.de

It is possible that in some cities abroad there will be events concerning the Berlinale, possibly in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut. Those events might as well be a possible occasion to inform about the situation at Kino Babylon Mitte and of FAU Berlin.

The Berlinale festival is an international one. Many international moviemakers are taking part in it (For a program see http://www.berlinale.de/en/programm/berlinale_programm/programmsuche.php). May be you are in contact with one of them and can convince him or her to show solidarity.

4B. -- SAMPLE LETTER OF PROTEST TO THE BERLINALE

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

während der Berlinale arbeiten Sie mit mehreren Berliner Kinos zusammen. Unter anderem mit dem Kino Babylon Mitte.

Die Geschäftsführung dieses Kinos geht zur Zeit aktiv gegen die Koalitionsfreiheit der Beschäftigten vor und führt ständige Prozesse gegen eine ihrer Interessenvertretungen, die FAU Berlin. Mittlerweile hat die Geschäftsführung sogar ein Ordnungsgeld, ersatzweise Ordnungshaft, gegen die FAU Berlin beantragt. Dies bedroht nicht nur die Arbeitnehmervereinigung mit den meisten Mitgliedern im Kino Babylon, sondern schränkt die Freiheit sich gewerkschaftlich zu organisieren ganz allgemein ein.

Auch wenn die Berlinale nicht direkt für die Zustände im Kino Babylon Mitte verantwortlich ist möchte ich sie dennoch auf ihre soziale Verantwortung gegenüber den ArbeitnehmerInnen, die Ihre Festspiele ermöglichen, hinweisen.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

[Your name]

5. -- MORE INFORMATION / HOW TO CONTACT US

For more information about the background of the industrial conflict at Kino Babylon Mitte in Berlin and the repression against the FAU Berlin that is a consequence of that conflict, we set up special sections on our website in different languages. Not all of them contain the same information due to our limited translation capacities. Please check:

http://www.fau.org/verbot (for German)
http://www.fau.org/verbot/en (for English)
http://www.fau.org/verbot/es (for Spanish)
http://www.fau.org/verbot/fr (for French)

If you browse around the "How to support" article, you may find small portions of the information available in many other languages too.

Additional sources of information are available only in German:

http://prekba.blogsport.de (blog of Babylon Mitte workers)
http://www.fau.org/soli/babylon (The conflict at Babylon Mitte)

We ask you to share the information we provide as widely as possible and to add links to our special section(s). The more people know about what is going on at Berlin, the more possibilities for solidarity and protest are seeded. Any article on your websites, your blog, your local Indymedia or other social media site, your newspaper or fanzine is most welcome. If someone does a feature for a community radio station, please send it in so that we can share it with others. If you even have contacts to mainstream media that might be interested in the subject, don't hesitate to ask them to get in touch with us.

For any direct contact with FAU Berlin please get in touch with soli-faub@fau.org. For media contacts please use faub5@fau.org.

kc
Feb 22 2010 12:30

from www.fau.org:

Demonstration for Union Liberties Accompanies Berlinale Award Ceremony

On February 20, 2010, 600 people marched through Berlin for more union liberties in Germany. The FAU Berlin had called for the protest because a Berlin court barred them from referring to themselves as a union.

This resulted from a year-long conflict about working conditions at the Babylon Mitte Cinema, which is one of the Berlinale's venues.

Members of different social movements joined the protest, such as antifascists and left-wing unionist. In her speech, Dr. Renate Hürtgen from the Committee for Union Liberties said that more than half of the unions in other European countries would be prohibited if German laws would apply to them.

"This is an attack on the workers' freedom of association and pertains to all workers. We're happy that the debate about the right to form unions in Germany has reached a wider audience. This is only the beginning of a struggle that concerns the basic principles of labour law here and which we will fight to the end," says Lars Röhm, secretary of the FAU Berlin.

Demonstration photos:
http://ccphoto.de/?p=200
http://www.flickr.com/photos/existencil/

robot
Feb 28 2010 07:23

Berlin court refused to impose a fine on FAU Berlin

Last week a Berlin court refused to impose a fine on FAU Berlin because he could not find evidence that FAU Berlin publically called itsself a union after the verdict from january 2010. The same day FAU Berlin received another demand for a penalty on behalf of the managment of Kino Babylon Mitte. This time the reasons for an application being that FAU Berlin did not delete the term "union" from its international statutes after the verdict. With the new demand for a penalty there is a chance for another possible € 250,000 / 6 month of pay jail fince against the FAU Berlin.

If you think, the Babylon management are bossholes, you may send them an email using the protest mail form on the ZSP website or by directly adressing grossman@babylonberlin.de, hackel@babylonberlin.de, timothygrossman@kinoundkonzerte.de, tgrossman@kinoundkonzerte.de. The bosses are as well really annoyed about protests on their fax machine +49 30 24727-800, especially about those people who just sent entirely black pages consuming the expensive toner within a couple of transmissions.