Demonstration for the Freedom to Unionize a Success

300 people demonstrated against the court decision prohibiting the FAU Berlin from calling itself a union. [This is a translation of the German press release | versión castellano | version française]

Despite freezing cold temperatures and the short mobilization period, the large crowd of demonstrators showed that they weren't going to take the de facto ban of the FAU Berlin lying down. The demonstration headed towards the Babylon Mitte cinema, whose managers had obtained the ban from the Berlin Regional Court on the December 11, 2009. For this and other attempts to stamp out workers' rights, Babylon manager Timothy Grossman was presented in absentia with the Margaret Thatcher Award for 2009 during the demonstration.

The central theme of the various speeches was the regional court's scandalous decision, which is in flagrant disregard of the basic right to organize. Also discussed was the roll of ver.di (a big union in Germany) and the Left Party (part of Berlin's ruling coalition), who together with the cinema's management undermined the workers' struggle. A few days earlier, ver.di - at the behest of the Left Party - signed a labor contract with the management, which was negotiated without the employees' input and involves conditions well below ver.di's own master contract with other cinemas.

In his speech Hansi Oostinga of the FAU Berlin said: "Our month-long struggle at the Babylon cinema has shown that self-organized, grassroots resistance is possible and can be successful, but also that all attempts will be made to stamp it out. A good union is one that the boss doesn't like."

More information:

Pictures of the demonstration:

Live ticker from the demonstration (pictures and text in German):

More info about the de facto union ban:

Background info about the Babylon workers' struggle: