Booking.com has several call centers around the world. In Berlin they employ more then 800 people. The company grows, the city is cheaper for the company and the conditions are attractive for the young migrants working there (good salary, presents at christmas). At the end of 2018 they abruptly decided to layoff 30% of the employees, without a reason. The image of the best call center in Berlin starts to crack: 40% of the employees are on a temp contract, management has a tight control over the people and the Betriebsrat is constantly under pressure.
We invited some of the employees of the Booking.com call center. They will tell about the working conditions, the big layoff and much more.
Call for solidarity protest against employers’ arrogance, union busting and economic terrorism against employees at Wombat’s City Hostel!
The Berlin staff was the first in Germany to set up a works council in a hostel and to enforce a collective agreement. The owners Alexander Dimitriewicz and Marcus Praschinger want to close the well performing hostel out of pure retaliation. Quote from their own statement: “The Berlin hostel is economically successful, but we don’t want to work this way”.
Firstly, this is more of a sleight of hand than a real closure. A manoeuvre that serves to exchange unpopular employees.
Secondly, entrepreneurs who want to fire an entire workforce as a retaliation for demanding fundamental and human rights, act in an immoral manner and the expropriation of their property must be considered.
There are hostels in Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, London and soon also in Venice. At all locations guests will be informed about the terrorism of owners and management against the Berlin employees.
We call on trade unionists, civil rights activists and syndicates to protest and resist. Ya basta! That’s enough!
It was a long year for the staff of Wombat’s hostel. Cost of living has risen in Berlin but they still had to deal with minimum wage and unpaid extra hours or night shifts. It is something very common in the hotel sector, not only in Berlin. They told to our microphone (we still have just one) how the young travelers, chic neighbors and the management couldn’t care less.
What’s unusual is that they managed to unionize, to elect a working council (Betriebsrat) and to reach a Collective Agreement (Tarifvertrag). The employer started with union busting: outsourcing, issuing warnings and dismissing people. In January 2019 the negotiations for (or against) the outsourcing of the room cleaners revamped the struggle.
We hear their (success) story directly from their voices.
After a short summer break, Critical Workers´ radio inquiries into workers’ struggles continue. This time we will talk to the flight attendants of the low-cost airline Ryainair, who have recently striked and blocked flights throughout Europe and even here in Berlin against their working conditions. Rather than repeat what everyone has read in the newspapers, we will have their voice tell us directly which are the steps that led them to organize the struggles.
As always we will meet at Heart’s Fear (former Fritto, wildenbruchstr 24, 12045) offering drinks and live discussion supported by our comrades of Radio NoBorder.
People who cannot come to the event itself, may follow the show under http://radionoborder.net/live/. The show is going to be in English but we can also provide translation for German and Italian if someone wants to participate in the discussion.
After learning about the situation of student assistants in Berlin (TVStud), following the riders on the storm (Deliverunion), and asking Amazon to pay (Make Amazon Pay), we are going to talk about hospitals in Berlin. How the Vivantes Service GmbH treats its employees? How this treatment affects your health and the safety of the workers? RadioNoBorder narrates the strikes in Berlin!
In April Jeff Bezos visited Berlin to receive the Axel-Springer-Preis. There were several workers from allover europe to “greet” him.
Since a while we take part to discussions to the topic of working conditions in Amazon. Together with Ralf from Amazon Leipzig we had a chat about the conditions of Amazon workers in different European countries, we had a look to previous struggles, we listened to a couple of interviews recordered during the demo and as usual had a small discussion with the public.
We did it AGAIN! Thanks to the powerful means of Radio No Border, the Critical Workers broadcasted the second Critical Radio show (audio below).
This time we took a closer look at two awards: Deliveroo received the award for being the worst employer of the year by the Aktion-Arbeitsunrecht. Instead of a golden cup, Deliveroo won a strike of their employees on Friday 13. We interviewed a former Deliveroo rider in Berlin, now Deliverunion member, a Foodora rider also from Berlin and an italian activist. We examined the backgrounds as well as working conditions in Deliveroo and Foodora. We gave some updates about international struggles and analysed the situation together.
We also took a brief look to the Axel-Springer-Preis, the Prize for the Amazon-CEO, Jeff Bezos. Amazon is known for bad working conditions and union busting. More will come in the next radio show.
We did it! Thanks to the powerful means of Radio No Border, the Critical Workers broadcasted its first Critical Radio show (audio below).
In the cozy atmosphere of Fritto (wildenbruchstr 24) several people joined to drink some wine, eat panzerotti and listen to something that was middle way between an interview with guests and an info event. We liked the format of the open radio show and we’re going to do more.
Meanwhile you can listen to the one we recorded on the 22nd of March. A long interview with a member of TVStud (tvstud.berlin), an organization of student assistent struggling for a fair wage (but not only). A very interesting campaign we’ve been in touch with.
“With this open radio broadcast, the Critical Radio, hosted by RadioNoBorder we want to give precarious workers, which too often are being forgotten within the public debate, a voice. This time, we speak about the struggle of the precarious workers at the Berlin University. Many thousands of people are working in Berlin as student assistants and tutors. Their collective contract has been blocked for 17 years, their salaries are low and they often fulfil unpaid tasks. Since few months they decide that that is enough. The organize also with the help of the unions and they started a strike to get better working conditions, although the university management tries to scare and hinder them. We invited a comrade involved in this struggle since the beginning, who told us a bit how the struggle began and which are the future perspectives.”
Organize, fight, resist! Join the Critical Workers!
We’ve been active for over a year now. We supported local struggles from food delivery couriers to call center workers. We are offering a monthly legal counsellig where we hear the most awful and interesting working situation. We are constantly analysing working conditions in Berlin trying to understand what’s going on and how we can bring people together.
Now we would like to introduce ourselves to others that might be interested.
On Thursday 22nd we will air a short radio program (thanks to Radio NoBorder) talking about what we do. Meanwhile there will be informal chat, drink and delicious food for you.
There are two of the many struggles happening in town that we know and support since the beginning: the riders of Foodora and Deliveroo, and the Studentische Hilfskräfte.
Both have important events today, that we want to spread out as possible:
Bürorundgang über den Campus Mitte by the TVStud Berlin – at 15.00 Hausvogteiplatz 5 – FB Event
Fair bike repair solution now! by Deliverunion and FAU – at 14.30 Oranienburger Straße 70 – FB Event
Critical Workers is an activist collective based in Berlin dealing with workers struggles. We offer free legal counselling regarding work issues, in presence of labour lawyers. Please feel free to ask us any question or come in our counselling hours.