By Ed Emery, originally published in effimera.org. On 19 May 2019, Italian author and political...
Wombat’s hostels around Europe don’t have collective agreements on fair wages or works councils. The only exception is the Wombat’s City Hostel in Berlin, where workers got organised, fought and managed to obtain both. Now, the owners want to close down Wombat’s Berlin even though it is highly profitable! Why? It’s simple: union busting! They are trying to fight trade unions, avoid collective agreements and smash the works council.
What can you do?
-Call and complain!
Munich +49. 89. 599 89 180 | Vienna: +43. 1. 89 72 336
London +44. 20. 768 07 600 (Note: select 2, “Booking”)
-Don’t stay at Wombat’s Hostels!
-Cancel your bookings!
We stand in solidarity with the employees of the Wombat’s Hostel in Berlin. They are the first hostel workers in Germany to successfully form a works council and obtain a collective agreement.
The hostel’s management has been cracking down on the unionised workers for years: they fired employees that took part in strikes, interfered in works council elections and activities, and retained parts of workers’ wages. In order to get rid of union members, management refuses to renew their fixed-term contracts. They even outsourced the cleaning staff to a shady subsidiary of the Munich-based cleaning company Thalhammer GmbH. To get the job done, they turned to their law firm: notorious union buster Buse Heberer Fromm.
When none of these measures worked, the owners went even further: they announced they would close down Wombat’s Berlin on 31 August 2019. They openly admit that the decision is entirely politically motivated. Wombat’s Berlin is a goldmine; economically, there is no reason to close it down. It could simply be a trick: the hostel could reopen after a few months, without an organised workforce or a binding collective agreement.
The employees of Wombat’s Berlin, however, won’t wait to find out or accept what’s happening. They demand that management be held accountable. Article 14 of the German Constitution states that “Property comes with responsibility”. If the owners of a private property don’t meet their responsibilities, the state can expropriate them. A company that is willing to eliminate tariffed jobs as a retaliation for the unionisation of its workforce deserves to be expropriated! Even if it is just to prevent other employers from doing the same.
Protect works councils, collective agreements and the right to unionise! Stop wage dumping!