The following greetings were sent by five Berlin bus drivers to the Frankfurt WISAG workers who have been on hunger strike at Frankfurt Airport since Wednesday, February 24.
To the hunger-striking WISAG colleagues at Rhine-Main Airport.
We bus drivers in Berlin read about your action on the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS). We regret you have to resort to such extreme measures to draw attention to your situation.
We pledge all our solidarity in your struggle!
It is crystal clear that the WISAG company is exploiting the Corona pandemic to increase its profits and crush workers’ rights. This must be stopped and you must be given back your jobs!
Here in Berlin, WISAG airport ground workers underwent the same experience. Just 60 from a total of 350 workers at Tegel airport were taken on at the new BER Schönefeld airport where the working conditions are very poor.
For many years, the Berlin Senate (formerly a coalition of the Social Democratic Party and the Left Party, currently a coalition of the SPD, Left Party and Greens) worked together with the Verdi trade union to ramp up work pressure and drive down wages for Berlin airport workers.
The situation is no different for us bus drivers at the Berlin Transport Company (BVG), where a systematic reduction of wages and social benefits has been taking place for years. With the help of Verdi, wages have been reduced to an extremely low level while work stress has been intensified by extending working hours and weekly shifts.
Exploitation via low-wage labour—this principle is increasingly being extended to all occupational sectors. Whether airport service workers, auto workers, Amazon employees, workers and employees in the social and health sectors or in public transport: from the standpoint of management and the trade unionists who sit on the company boards, we are nothing more than a workforce to be blackmailed and hired or fired at will.
The coronavirus pandemic further exacerbates these conditions. The British Medical Journal rightly dubbed the way political leaders have dealt with the dangers of contagion as “social murder.”
Governments have given billions of euros to the shareholders of the airline industry, the auto industry and other big corporations. At the same time, like you, hundreds of thousands have had to live on 60 percent of their net wages since the start of the pandemic. Now, we are supposed to work harder and longer to recover the billions of euros handed out to the wealthy.
Politicians, union bosses and shareholders have no problem with the fact that our costs of living have been rising steadily—even prior to the pandemic. The loss of wages and the constant threat of unemployment endangers our very existence!
Not only are hundreds of thousands of jobs to be destroyed, many more thousands of lives will be lost by keeping open factories, schools and daycare centres. The pandemic and the campaign to force workers back to work under unsafe conditions endanger the health and lives of us all.
The current attacks on your jobs and wages are attacks on us all. They are part of the global class war against the international working class.
We welcome your struggle but realise that together we must turn this struggle into a broad political campaign. We must take the defence of jobs and wages into our own hands.
We therefore call on you to form an independent action committee to contact fellow workers in other cities and countries and prepare a general strike against the attacks of the governments and corporations.
Solidarity greetings from