Temporary service for tolerance (nd-aktuell.de)

The Amadeu Antonio Foundation is named after a victim of right-wing violence in Eberswalde.

The Amadeu Antonio Foundation is named after a victim of right-wing violence in Eberswalde.

The Amadeu Antonio Foundation is named after a victim of right-wing violence in Eberswalde.

Photo: dpa/Ralf Hirschberger

Every year on October 1st, the employees of the civil society Amadeu Antonio Foundation have to register as unemployed. A few weeks beforehand, the employees received an e-mail that said: “Dear people, October 1st is coming soon. Please register as a job-seeker.” The Verdi services union is demanding that these “chain restrictions” must finally come to an end.

As trade union secretary André Pollmann explains, time limits are regrettably the norm in institutions for political education and democracy promotion. Employment contracts are usually only concluded for one year. An extension will only be given shortly before the end of the contract. Or not.

The employees’ lack of prospects and predictability are increasingly causing frustration and anger, says Marius Förster, who actually has a different name and doesn’t want to read his real name in the newspaper. He works for the Amadeu Antonio Foundation and is part of the operating group that was founded there with the support of Verdi. The degree of organization is high. 60 to 70 of almost 100 employees take part. “We employees have to take all the risks. We put up our face and our name for the foundation and thus expose ourselves to possible hostilities, but we don’t know whether we will still be able to work there next year,” says Förster.

The works group submitted the draft of a works agreement to the administration of the foundation. The duration of the contracts should correspond to the duration of the projects. If a project comes to an end, the employees should continue to be employed on other projects. After four years, all fixed-term contracts should expire. According to Pollmann, this is a concept developed by labor law experts that is now being implemented at the Anne Frank Center and the “Work and Life” foundation, which is close to the DGB. In the case of the latter, however, only after a labor dispute with short strikes.

“This concept is the basis of our negotiations,” confirms Tahera Ameer from the board of directors of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation to “nd”. She sees the election of a works council positively. The new administration is looking for ways to improve working conditions, says Ameer. It is also a question of ending time limits, insofar as this can be reconciled with the project goals. Already this year, not all employees had to register as jobseekers by October 1st.

Pollmann and Förster see the board’s willingness to find cooperative solutions. However, the operating agreement has not yet been signed. If it came about, it would also have a signal effect beyond the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, says Pollmann. »In democratic education there are many foundations with similarly precarious working conditions. The employment contract could send a signal.« He refers to a campaign for which employees from various educational institutions have joined forces. On October 7th and 8th they invite you to the congress in Frankfurt am Main.


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