Corona faults: DGB calls for labor market reform

Hamburg's DGB chairman Katja Karger has called for a fundamental change in labor market policy in view of the corona-related upheavals. "It is not enough to save companies with large financial resources, to rely on short-time work and to hope that everything will be fine again at some point," said Karger on Friday in Hamburg. The employees need security and prospects. "With the force of the changes on the labor market, further training plays a central role." But even now in the pandemic, employers often find it difficult to support employees: "That has to change."

"The corona pandemic has relentlessly exposed the structural problems on the labor market," said Karger. This is particularly evident in Hamburg. In December 2020, the Hanseatic city had the highest rate of short-time working in Germany at 10,2 percent (federal government: 7,7 percent). "The extension of the simplified access to short-time work beyond June of this year is important," emphasized the DGB boss. However, a minimum short-time allowance of 1200 euros per month must be introduced.

Hamburg has the second highest value nationwide when it comes to the decline in mini-jobs. In December 2020, compared to the same month last year, it fell by 157 percent from 000 to 132, in the hospitality industry by as much as 000 percent and in the cultural sector by 15,5 percent. And for mini-jobbers there is no substitute for short-time work or unemployment benefits, said Karger. "Now, at the latest, it should be clear: This form of work should be abolished."

With a view to the situation of the self-employed, Karger called for a reform of the unemployment insurance. Because despite the help from the federal government and the city, many self-employed were deeply in financial crisis. The number of Hartz IV applications for (solo) self-employed in December 2020 rose by 36 percent compared to the same month last year (federal government: 15 percent). In addition, many Hartz IV are denied, for example because their assets set aside for old age are above the exemption.