Cindy Fasanya is “Product Owner” at VW software-brand CARIAD in Berlin – and an IG Metall shop steward there. In January, they won their first collective agreement through warning strikes.
Following her studies (International Technology-Oriented Management) and a master’s internship at Volkswagen, the 29-year-old started working at the newly founded VW software-subsidiary CARIAD in 2020. After just a few months, she joined IG Metall and ran for election as a shop steward.
Doing something yourself to make things better
“For me, the human component is important. I did voluntary work during my studies, with refugees and people with disabilities,” Cindy explains. “I also found it exciting to be able to influence and shape working conditions. Anyone can get upset. If you want things to get better, you should do something about it yourself.”
First, Cindy wanted to become a shop steward to get involved in a social way. And since the company did not provide the right platforms to volunteer for her, she decided to join the union.
“In the beginning, I did wonder why I’m expected to pay a members fee for volunteering,” says Cindy. “But then I got the concept: I’m not paying for the effort I put in, but for the support I get from IG Metall doing it. Only through the great cooperation between the IG Metall staff and us volunteers at CARIAD we can win collective agreements together with our members.”
Cindy was elected for the collective bargaining commission, where she took part in drafting the demands and plans of IG Metall for the collective bargaining movement. She also had numerous discussions with colleagues, both in the company and online. Every Tuesday, the IG Metall bargaining commission briefed the IG Metall members at CARIAD in a “Tarif Tuesday”-video conference about the status of the negotiations – and faced their questions and criticism.
“We have noticed that we have very argumentative and critical employees who work through and calculate everything themselves,” Cindy says. “I’m happy about that, it makes us strong. However, I wish even more people would join IG Metall. That gives us more input, support and diversity of opinions, which only benefits our regular union work and the next collective bargaining movement.”
More attractive with Collective Agreements – even internationally
In the end, 1200 workers at CARIAD followed IG Metall’s call for a warning strike. And they won their first own collective agreement: incremental pay increases of more than 8.5 per cent, an inflation compensation bonus of 3000 euros, an additional special payment of 750 euros and a commitment to negotiate a profit-sharing scheme.
“At first, many thought we would get similar wage increases to the rest of the VW group automatically and could just float along,” Cindy recalls. “But bit by bit everyone understood: we have to show strength in the negotiations. We have to fight.”
But why fight? Why was that even necessary at CARIAD, especially since IT-specialists are supposedly desperately needed?
“Yes, we argued that over and over during the negotiations,” says Cindy. “Cooperating with the union, the company can create better working conditions. With the collective agreement, we can stand out in the international competition for skilled workers. Particularly in the software industry, some view collective agreements critically. But studies have shown that IT-companies bound by collective agreements pay better wages on average – for less work. And I really find it incredible that, through the union, I as a normal employee have the opportunity to negotiate an agreement like this.”
You can stand for election to become an IG Metall shop steward as well – for example in the Vertrauensleute-Wahl 2024.
More on the collective bargaining movement at CARIAD: tarifbewegung-cariad.de.