On Wednesday, June 29th, there will be another drop in classes in many schools: the Berlin Education and Science Union (GEW Berlin) is calling for an all-day warning strike for this day. The trade union wants to achieve smaller classes in the schools and is calling for the conclusion of a collective agreement on health protection in which the class size is bindingly regulated.

Smaller classes would mean a lighter workload for teachers, and students would benefit too, GEW Berlin argues.

However, significantly more teachers would then be needed than now. In view of the drastic shortage of teachers, critics therefore consider the GEW Berlin’s demands to be unrealistic.

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The union counters: “With a collective agreement for smaller classes, we wouldn’t be in the catastrophic situation today of not being able to fill more than 1,000 teaching positions,” said Anne Albers, head of the GEW Berlin board of directors’ collective bargaining policy. Better working conditions are the best remedy for a shortage of skilled workers.

In June 2021, GEW BERLIN called for negotiations on TV health protection for the first time, and then in January 2022 asked Finance Senator Daniel Wesener (Greens) to hold talks, GEW Berlin announced. “Since the finance senator still refuses to start talks with us, it is necessary to use industrial action to increase the pressure on the employer,” said the chairman of GEW Berlin, Tom Erdmann.

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 June 29th. The summer holidays begin a week later, and by then all the work relevant to grades will have been completed at the schools. Most of the time, however, more trips, project weeks or other social activities take place during this time.