The following statement was adopted by the Network of Action Committees for Safe Workplaces in Germany, which was formed last year to mobilize the working class, independently of the unions, against the criminal response of the ruling classes to the pandemic, which has killed more than 63,000 people in Germany and 750,000 in Europe.
We have created the Network of Action Committees for Safe Workplaces because we are not prepared to accept the planned mass redundancies in industry, the dangerous working conditions and the cover-up of infection figures in workplaces. We want to organise the growing resistance independently of Bundestag parties and trade unions and coordinate the struggle internationally.
Although well over 20,000 people perished from COVID-19 in Germany in January alone and the pandemic continues to rage, industrial plants are being kept open at all costs. We are expected to risk our lives every day under completely unsafe conditions so that the profits keep pouring in. But our health, our lives and those of our families are more important than the profits of the factory owners and shareholders.
After months in which our labour has created the corporations’ profits, under the most adverse conditions of the pandemic, many of us are now to be thrown on the street. Almost all companies are now taking advantage of the terrible consequences of the pandemic to implement long-planned restructuring measures and attacks on jobs, wages, pensions and working conditions. Not a day goes by without new announcements of mass layoffs.
This is what we are organising resistance against. We oppose the trade unions and their works council representatives, who function as co-managers and support the rationalisation measures, cutbacks and dismissals in the name of “competitiveness.” We expose the Mafia-like structures and machinations of the works councils, which often exert pressure by holding one-on-one meetings with workers to push through job cuts.
We reject all forms of nationalism and so-called “location politics” that pit workers in one plant against workers in others in order to divide them. We fight for international solidarity and a global strategy. Neither the coronavirus nor the social attacks of the corporations recognise national borders. Workers everywhere face the same problems, which can only be solved together.
That is why we are organising independently of the trade unions and establishment parties and joining forces with our colleagues all over the world to prepare a general strike. The dramatic development of the pandemic is the result of a policy that places private enrichment and profit above the protection of the life and health of the population. This policy can only be stopped by the European-wide mobilisation of the entire working class!
• We demand the immediate closure of all non-essential production until the pandemic is under control! Full pay for all affected workers!
• Real and effective safety measures must be implemented in essential workplaces, such as food and medical supply manufacturers, overseen by health and safety committees in consultation with public health and infectious disease experts.
• We demand access to all information to gain an accurate, detailed and comprehensive picture of the spread of the pandemic in the different workplaces, on which workers can act.
• We fight to defend every single job and demand a public employment programme in socially important areas such as education, health and environmental protection!
We call on workers everywhere to build independent rank-and-file safety committees in their workplaces—click here for details.
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The network serves as a platform to break the wall of silence and suppression of information. We make known all news and information about the real situation in the factories.
It is time to become active! It is not enough to denounce the criminal irresponsibility of the employers, the government, parties, and trade unions, it is necessary to fight against them.