Mai 1st is a bank holiday here in Germany and also back home in Austria. It is called “Tag der Arbeit” (Labour Day) to commemorate those who fought for the rights of workers in the wake of industrialism and celebrate their successes.
It is high time to be back out on the streets again. To remind those in power and wealth of the one third of the German workforce, who can’t make ends meet any longer and face outright poverty in old age, according to current pension rules.
All those single parents struggling, despite a full time but minimum pay job. Or partime, even lesser paid jobs. Those tricked out of their small, legal minimum wage by sly international players, forcing them into “self-employment” with all risk with those who actually provide the service, all profit for the big name they do it for. All those huge companies like Amazon, who hire small one-man deliverers, who exploit themselves to make a living. All the young people in unpaid or unfairly paid temp contracts. All the hotel chains paying their maids per room, with the target amount of rooms for one shift impossible to meet – so their minimum wage is never met, since the maids have to finish on their private time. All those East-European work-slaves on the fields or in slaughterhouses working hard jobs noone else is prepared to do on impossible terms. Because they are employed by a chain of contractors, noone controls. I could go on for a while longer. And all this happens right under our eyes and noses.
It is a shame. A society as rich as here should not tolerate this. But “Geiz ist geil” (stinginess is cool) and everbody always wants the best deal possible. Which in my eyes sometimes is even criminal to accept. So I wish, for this May 1st, that people spend a minute or two on those, who deliver all those convenient services 24/7 and value their efforts. Which are so often underpaid.
Go on, add an extra tip to the waiter or waitress today. Say thankyou to the person working at the gas station on a bank holiday. Bring flowers to the person caring for your ill or elderly. And next time, consider voting for a political party making themselves heard for workers rights. Can’t be that wrong.