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|Updated: 18.12.2012 15:51|
on precarious work and migration
(June 25 to 27, 2004 : at - and in cooperation with - the "University for applied sciences" Dortmund)
For many people it was and is reality: precarious work
Since years such non regulated labour relations are expanding in all sectors of the economy - the faster since services are outsourced, working conditions flexibilized and low wages sectors sponsored by the state.
If in the past mostly women and migrants were forced to work under conditions which did not guarantee a decent life, today it becomes clear that capitalism makes working without (or with miserable) collective contracts a normality.
May they be postal workers, truckers, service people at McDonalds or call center agents - they have low wages; may they be shareholders of themselves struggling for their existence or part-time workers forced to struggle to get the wages paid by obscure employing agencies; may she be a doctor from Kazakhstan cleaning german appartments or may he be a kurdish refugee working in a diner - or polish, romanian, german or portuguese civil construction workers, may they be homeworkers waiting for calls, students in multiplex cinemas or later, as academic helpers: for them all it is true that the so called "Knowledge or Information Society" is based on part-time or casual labour and low wages.
Precarious work mostly means working without being sure to be able to pay a decent life
Workers rights and health safety remain unknown in these jobs.
Many people work under such conditions simply because of their needs for life. Others do it because even so it means improving their standing. Others regard it as a possible career chance - self-understanding, perspectives and aims of the employed vary as the jobs and their conditions do.
Migrants - with or without documents - however often do not have a choice. Special laws, police raids, preference for germans in the labour market, refugees interdiction to work - this means a "immigration policy" that forces them out of law and into illicit or moonlighting work, that forces them into the most dirty jobs.
Unions try to organize especially highly qualified, good earning people and, as ever, aim mainly at the decreasing number of large concerns.
Up to now, there are few new examples and initiatives of precarious workers to organize or engage for their interests - but some single actions and activities in Europe were succesful: the struggle of the "intermittants" of the culture sector in France, african cleaning ladies in Paris, the struggle of farmworkers in Spain to receive wages and get normalisation of their rights of residence, undocumented construction workers in Berlin - precarious workers develop new strategies and act against a situation in which they have no rights. May they be freelancers at radio stations or cleaners in the industry: In Germany also exist some first succesful activities.
Especially in times when people are forced to accept any job it is necessary to strengthen activities. We want to create a basic cooperation between precarious workers and migrant workers in both directions.
Therefore, our aims for this meeting are:
1. TO make public importance and social function of precarious work in the society
2. TO help some very different political and migrant groups and union activists to meet for controversial debates on future activities
3. TO try to find common strategic starting points and political slogans and make them public
4. AND last not least, excnage about concrete action and organisation possibilities and develop them together.
Opening Friday evening
Introducing aims and questions of the conference : Hagen Kopp (No one is illegal) and Mag Wompel (LabourNet Germany) / Presenting expierences: Respect (migrant women in households), RBB Freie (freelancers of radio and TV Station Radio Berlin Brandenburg organize themlseves), and precarious workers union VAT of Turkey about their strike at the Istanbul post office, finally "A-Clips" short videos about labour and migration.
A morning and a afternon block each consisting of 12 workshops : among a lot of others a discussion about Workers Center in the USA, union reformation expierences in Germany - mediaworkers, teachers and restaurant organizing in new style, precarious work in the organized industry, a lecture about "the nightmare of service society", asylum seekers and their role in the labour market, "the transnational labour migration system and the enlarged europe" and much, much more...
The ultimate METRO Show
All the truth about everything on german giant corporation Metrogroup - with people from various countries participating
Workshops about the theme: How to continue? And a final plenar session...
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