Decent Work Day: Overcoming bad working conditions in Germany too
In order to draw attention to precarious working conditions, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) proclaimed “Decent Work Day” for the first time in 2008. Since then, on October 07th, people around the world have been drawing attention to inhumane working conditions in order to overcome them. Even 14 years later, trade unions and organizations are rightly pointing out the abuses and exploitation that continue to exist worldwide, especially in the so-called “Global South”. Child labour, wage injustice and the inhumane treatment of employees are still present, especially in the textile industry, but also in mining, agriculture and other industries.
Precarious working conditions and a lack of rights for employees are a transnational problem that is also evident in Germany and in the way the federal government deals with it.
Despite the protective rights that workers have fought hard for over the decades, formalized and fair working conditions are still a rarity. Above all, migrants and people with refugee experience are exposed to exploitation and precarious working conditions because they are affected by multiple discrimination. A massive form of exploitation can be found in the construction and logistics industry, as well as in the catering industry. Due to their insecure residency status, the pressure to secure their livelihood through migration and the associated helplessness, workers become targets for human trafficking, for example. A lack of living wages and inappropriate working hours are just some of the factors that lead to employees being denied the right to safe work in the German professional world.
In addition, the Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) already established in 2008 that there is a wage gap of 20% between foreign and German women. From the feedback – especially in the context of our MUT 3.0 project - we find out what unworthy treatment they suffer in everyday work:
- Migrant women are usually only precariously employed, ostensibly part-time, and often in care
- They often work in jobs for which they are overqualified because these are mainly offered to them by employment agencies and institutions
- They work in transnational care chains for economically stronger families, but are torn from their family environment so that their own families suffer
- It is not uncommon for them to be confronted with racist and discriminatory statements and actions in their everyday work and they are exposed to massive psychological stress
- However, migrant women are also misused as a “diversity facade” in that their actual potential and self-determination are pushed into the background, while their attitude functions as an improvement to the company’s image.
- The annual report by the new Federal Commissioner for Anti-Discrimination, Ferda Ataman, shows that trans* and inter* people are exposed to verbal and sexual harassment at work – often in connection with civil status law. For example, if employers or colleagues do not accept the selected gender entry.
We advocate the enforcement and state guarantee of humane working conditions for all people working in Germany.
In order to achieve this goal, DaMigra eV primarily demands a comprehensive expansion and reform of the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG), so that all areas in which discrimination is experienced can be denounced by those affected, those affected have access to effective support structures and with the costs are not left alone for advice and legal channels.
We also call on companies to make working conditions more humane and family-friendly. This includes flexible working hours, appropriate remuneration, but above all treating employees with dignity. In addition to appreciating skills, employers must be willing to question their own structures and, if necessary, work on raising awareness among managers and employees within the company so that racism, sexism and queer and transphobia are structurally reduced. people should be there not misused as a figurehead for diversity.
DaMigra e. V. represents the interests of women migrant organizations and their concerns and is committed to equal opportunities, equal participation and equality for women with a migration background and refugee experience in Germany. DaMigra follows the approach of anti-racist feminism.
Sources: Victims of labor exploitation by employment sector 2020 | extra
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