Germany: Working Class Protests Against Unemployment in May Day

A woman holding a red flag takes part in a protest, Berlin, Germany, May 1, 2020.

In April, the unemployment annual rate stood at 5.8 percent, up 0.9 percent from a year earlier.

On International Workers’ Day, Germany’s trade unions protested over the collapse of labor rights and the significant increase of unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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According to forecasts by Angela Merkel’s administration, Germany will experience the worst recession since World War II this year.

Recent unemployment figures have soared despite the economic aid that Germany’s authorities have set up to prevent mass layoffs.

In April, the unemployment rate stood at 5.8 percent, up 0.9 percent from a year earlier.

“The government must ensure that every worker keeps their job,”  German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) president Reiner Hoffmann demanded.

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Although concentrations of people are banned because of COVID-19, “nothing will stop us from demanding our rights, this time from digital platforms,” he added.

The DGB recalled that Germany’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will contract by 6.3 percent in 2020.

“We are confident that the reserves of the Federal Employment Agency (BA) will be sufficient to counteract the employment situation that has caused the new pandemic,” the DGB leader said and explained that the BA reserves are close to 26 billion euros, thanks to the high employment figures that the country had maintained over the last years.

Hoffmann spoke on a program broadcast on social networks, as part of an atypical May Day commemoration. Despite the isolation measures, some citizens took part in decentralized events in a few streets of Berlin and Hamburg.​​​​​​​

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