On Tuesday, 15,000 public sector employees gathered in front of the North Rhine-Westphalian state parliament in Düsseldorf. The demonstration was part of a warning strike called by the trade unions Verdi, GEW and the German Association of Civil Servants. The cops' lobby group, which calls itself the "Police Union", is also part of the alliance. The strikers are all employees of the state of NRW.

Employees are demanding a total of 10.5 percent more pay, but at least 500 euros more net, as the trade unions are demanding in these times. Apprentices should receive 200 euros more. Many strikers, especially those in the social professions, reported at the demonstration how the rising cost of living due to the still raging inflation is making life difficult for them. But the strikes are not just about reducing the cost of inflation. Employed teachers, social workers and workers at university clinics in particular are making the familiar demands for more relief in their professions. The teaching staff in particular are calling attention to the fact that smaller class sizes are absolutely necessary to ensure good teaching for the students. While GEW chairwoman Aylin Celik again talks about the lack of appreciation in this context, the teachers simply state that they are on the verge of collapse in their day-to-day teaching.

In addition to the above-mentioned workers from schools, social institutions and university hospitals, the strikers also include young academics, student assistants and other academic staff at universities. For years, they have been affected by the consequences of fixed-term contracts and the associated insecure working conditions, which make it difficult for them to plan a secure life and do their job. Because research needs time and stability and these factors are not given if it is not clear every year whether you will still have a job. For years, combative university employees have been drawing attention to this issue with the #IchBinHannah campaign and mobilizing against this type of special fixed-term contracts made possible by the so-called " Science Temporary Contract Act". In addition, employees at universities often earn relatively little in contrast to the public perception of their professions. In the case of student assistants, it even goes so far that they are not covered by any collective agreement and only earn just above the minimum wage.

So how does the other side react? Well, the " Collective Bargaining Association of the German Federal States", TdL for short, which employs the 1 million workers nationwide, " of course" do not see themselves in a position to accept the unions' offer. And as if on the spot, they argue with the current budget crisis and calculate that the unions' demands would cost a total of 20.7 billion and could not be met due to the Karlsruhe ruling. One can be absolutely certain that even without the current budget crisis, the federal states would have found some other argument to reject the justified demands of the employees. However, the workers' opponents include not only the representatives of the federal states, but also the social democratic trade union leaders, who are once again eagerly working to stab the strikers in the back.

Just how brazen the union leaders are being this time can be seen from the fact that they are publicly basing their actions on this year's federal and local government agreement, which was reached in April. Let us remind ourselves once again. Back then, the strikers also demanded 10.5 percent, but at least 500 euros more. What was the outcome? Despite the willingness of hundreds of thousands of employees to go on strike and a months-long campaign among the various sectors of the public sector employed by the federal and state governments, the union leaders reached an agreement with the federal and local governments in arbitration on a paltry 5.5 percent increase and tax-free special payments, which do not represent a permanent pay rise. The result was and is a loss of real wages for millions of people in the public sector. The fact that this betrayal from April is now being used as a basis is an outrage for all strikers. It already shows that traitor-in-chief and Verdi boss Frank Werneke and DBB chairman Silberbach do not even intend to fulfill the current demands of 10.5 percent pro forma on paper. It appears that they once again promised the state labor buyers at the federal states a real wage loss for the employees of the federal states. To top off this farce, the TdL spokesperson has already announced that the federal states cannot imagine orienting themselves financially to the federal and municipal agreements. Instead, they will do so in terms of structure. In other words, wages are to be cut even more than in the April agreement, but the structure of the agreement on one-off payments, which, it must be repeated again and again, do not represent a pay rise, is gladly accepted.

Another round of negotiations will take place today, Thursday, in Potsdam. In the run-up to this, Frank Wernecke once again reveals his servile mentality and announces to the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland in the context that there will be no arbitration in the wage negotiations with the federal states that he will then rely on further negotiation dates and warning strikes. This attitude means that even the head of the German civil servants' association, i.e. the representative of civil servants in the public sector who are not allowed to strike, appears more combative than the Verdi boss. The head of the DBB, Silberbach, announced: "Our colleagues are also in a position to enforce strikes in many key areas in the federal states."

The numbers at the demonstrations and the voices among colleagues speak a clear language. They are ready to fight. And once again, the need for a combative trade union that stands up for the demands and interests of the strikers without compromise and from the standpoint of the working class is clear.