February, 2019, a strike by Verdi, Germany's United Services Union, Source: Depositphotos

Berlin says trainees have the constitutional right to strike

Berlin says trainees have the constitutional right to strike

Senator for Labour and Integration, Katja Kipping, explained that the right to strike was an outstanding constitutional achievement in Germany and it is protected

Today, the City of Berlin put out a joint statement addressed to all state administrations and subordinate institutions to draw attention to the right of trainees to strike. The statement was signed by the Senate Department responsible for Health and Care and the Senate Department for Education and the Senate Department for Integration, Labour and Social Affairs.

In particular, the statement is aimed at people in vocational schools who want to exercise their constitutional rights. This comes from the fact that vocational schools need a certain level of attendance to be accepted for a qualification exam.

According to a statement from the city, this move was provoked by strikes in the healthcare sector towards the end of 2021 where trainees in hospitals were an active part. Because medical trainees in particular need a set amount of hours spent working in the sector before being eligible to take an exam, strikers feared losing out.

Striking should not put you at a disadvantage

Berlin’s Senator for Integration, Labour and Social Affairs, Katja Kipping, was quoted in a press statement, explaining that striking should not put people at a disadvantage. She underlined the fact that the basic right to strike was an outstanding achievement in Germany’s constitution.

Furthermore, Senator Kipping pointed out that disadvantaging young people who are union activists and take part in strikes to show their support for fair, collectively agreed working conditions would be a mistake. Additionally, due to the skilled labour shortage, employers would be encouraged to seek solutions.

On the other hand, Ulrike Gote, Senator for Science, Health, Nursing and Equal Opportunities, explained that there are fundamental protections of the right to strike and this is the only way that right can be fully exercised.



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