Leipzig (AP) - The new Verdi boss Frank Werneke has started with a haunting call for higher wages, secure pensions and redistribution to his top office.
"Verdi is the political union in Germany," said Werneke on Wednesday in front of about 1,000 delegates of the Verdi Federal Congress in Leipzig. This should remain so. Werneke had previously been elected on Tuesday as the successor of the long-term chairman Frank Bsirske, who was now officially adopted with minutes of applause.
Bsirske said, "I've been Verdi's face for many years, that's right." But now go ahead. The 67-year-old symbolically handed over a ballpoint pen to Werneke, 15 years his junior - the one with whom he signed the founding documents of Verdi in 2001. At the time, Verdi was made up of five individual unions.
Werneke made it clear that as a "passionate collective negotiator" he preferred to trust his own assertiveness instead of politics. Verdi negotiated more than 22,600 collective agreements with its 1.97 million members and developed a successful "strike culture". He also announced visible campaigns for future bargaining rounds. In the coming year, he wants to lead the negotiations for the civil service for federal and local governments.
Today, the tariff system is sometimes crumbling heavily, with nine million people working for low wages and Germany being "a tax haven for wealthy and wealthy people". He wanted to make a "departure" for more collective agreements on the focus of his term of office, announced the elected for four years Werneke. In order to achieve this, the government is also required, for example by better ways of declaring collective agreements to be universally binding in an industry.
Werneke demanded to overcome Hartz IV - for example by higher rates and the abolition of sanctions against non-cooperative recipients. He demanded greater protection against dismissals in times of technological change - by the possibility of significant reductions in working hours in threatened areas. For old-age poverty must be proposed by Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) Grundrente - and a higher pension level.
What is needed is a statutory minimum wage of "only 12 euros" - "and then increasing," said Werneke. An increase would have to come in the current legislative period. So far, it is planned that the minimum wage as of January 1, 2020 will rise from the current EUR 9.19 to EUR 9.35 per hour.
Werneke went to court with the Federal Government. So was the last week adopted climate package "a clear disappointment". In close alliance with climate protectors criticized the SPD member that the new price of CO2, which is to increase the price of natural gas, heating oil, coal, diesel and gasoline, should start at only 10 € per tonne of carbon dioxide.
Instead of hoping for an ecologic transport change from electromobility alone and "patching up this country with electricity charging stations", higher investments in public transport would be necessary. Werneke announced that Verdi would continue to support the Fridays for Future movement.