Team Digital economy

"Digital economy, we are your union!"

28.06.2024 | Berlin is a hotspot for the digital economy. There are now more than 145 000 jobs in the German capital. Every fourth new job is created in this sector. IG Metall’s executive committee has assigned it’s Berlin branch with tapping into the digital economy for development and organizing. Five colleagues are starting to explore the sector this July.

President of the local IG Metall Berlin (in the middle): Jan Otto Tech team (from left to right): Jan Brauburger, Sandra Rullich, Sabrina Lamers, Sören Lieske, Christian Meyer (Pic.: IGM)

Over the next ten years, 300 000 people are expected to work in the digital economy in Berlin. Reason enough for IG Metall to inspire colleagues in this changing world of work, in which employees often work digitally and remotely, i.e. from home, to join IG Metall. The executive committee of IG Metall has assigned the IGM local Berlin with tapping into the digital economy and testing new methods and developing concepts and materials to adress the employees in that sector.

"We are starting this new project with a team of five colleagues and are looking forward to doing pioneering work for our union," says Jan Otto, head secretary of IG Metall local Berlin.

People from 30 nations work in the digital economy, some of whom live in other countries and work exclusively online. The project team can fall back on good experience in the digital world. At CARIAD, Volkswagen's software and development forge, a very good in-house collective agreement was fought for, which inspired more and more employees to get organized in IG Metall. MBition develops software for the Mercedes-Benz world. In May, the IG Metall list on the works council won by a large majority and the colleagues are now building up their strength and are set off on their way towards a collective agreement.

Jan Brauburger, Sabrina Lamers, Sören Lieske, Sandra Rullich and Christian Meyer will be taking off together. With their diverse skills and backgrounds, they are looking for new formulas and approaches. "People in the industry are so enthusiastic that we as IG Metall are now saying quite clearly: We are your union," reports Jan Brauburger. The digital team will explore the communication channels that are common in the digital economy and use them to adress and organize employees.

Digital access rights will be a major challenge for trade unions, though. "We have to enforce that. If we have a member, we can actually go anywhere in the company. This can only be broken by security requirements. In the digital space, we could actually make contact with everyone. However, we would then need the contact details – only in the context of adressing the employes of a company. This is pioneering work that we would have to do for the entire trade union movement. Digital and hybrid company meetings are actually no longer permitted. But the fact is that we have companies where half of the workforce has never been to Berlin. We have to find a way to deal with that," explains Jan Otto.

The experience of the digital team is already demonstrating how different pay is when everyone negotiates individually. It is almost normal for ten employees who do almost identical work to be paid very differently. "Sometimes there are differences of up to 1 000 euros," says Jan Otto.

We will be introducing the digital team in the coming weeks. An interview with Jan Brauburger, who has already been working in the team since February 2024, is already online (english coming soon). This will be followed by Sabrina Lamers, Sandra Rullich, Sören Lieske and Christian Meyer.

Colleagues from the digital economy are invited to join us for a network meeting on July 9 at 5 p.m. in the IG Metall building [link].

Created by: aw; cm

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