In many schools in Berlin, the usual classes on Wednesdays are cancelled. Just under a week before the start of the summer holidays, the Education and Science Union (GEW) called for another all-day warning strike. She has long been calling for smaller classes to relieve teachers.
For this purpose, a collective agreement on health protection is to be concluded, which regulates the class size in a binding manner. The GEW would like to limit it to 19 students. So far, up to 26 children are allowed.
In order to put pressure on their demands, there should be a demonstration (from 10 a.m.) that starts on Dorothea-Schlegel-Platz near the Friedrichstrasse S-Bahn station. It leads to the Red Town Hall, where the final rally is planned for around 12 noon.
In June last year, the GEW Berlin spoke out in favor of negotiations for a collective agreement on health protection. Berlin’s GEW chairman Tom Erdmann criticized the new finance senator, Daniel Wesener (Green Party), for refusing to start talks.
It is therefore necessary to increase the pressure on the employer. Erdmann pointed out that all three governing parties had called for smaller classes in the election campaign.
Wesener takes the view that the state of Berlin cannot enter into collective bargaining on the size of classes without the approval of the collective bargaining community of German states (TdL). However, the TdL general meeting rejects such collective bargaining. He made his position clear again in a letter to the union on the occasion of the warning strike.
According to GEW, a survey of employed teachers at Berlin schools showed that class size was the most effective factor in reducing workload. It means less noise, less preparation and follow-up work and less correction work. In smaller classes there is more time for the core tasks of teachers: teaching, relationship work and individualized support.
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However, the need for teachers would increase with smaller classes – and is already high in Berlin. Even the education administration has already admitted that hundreds of teachers are missing. “Better working conditions are the best remedy against a shortage of skilled workers,” argued GEW board member Anne Albers.
The last warning strike for smaller classes was on April 7th this year. At that time there had been sharp criticism from school management and the state student committee, among others, because some schools were holding presentation exams for the Abitur on that day.
At least there are no exams on today, June 29th. The summer holidays will start in a week, and all the work relevant to grades has already been completed at the schools. Most of the time, however, more trips, project weeks or other social activities take place during this time.