News — Germany
If you remember, a few weeks ago, the German news magazine Der Spiegel published a major review and analysis of the intimidation, harassment and abuse that T-Mobile USA workers have to deal with on a regular basis (Read the article in English here).
Obviously this was a huge embarrassment for T-Mobile USA and its parent company Deutsche Telekom. It appears that the company felt compelled to respond to the serious allegations made in the article and explain its position. Instead of making a statement for the press or talking to a reporter, however, the company decided to take a different route.
Shortly after the article was published, an apparent Spiegel interview with Marion Schick, Deutsche Telekom’s Director of Human Resources, appeared on the company’s intranet.
This is a report from Stephan Heggemann, ver.di activist at Deutsche Telekom in Düsseldorf, Germany, from last week's workers' meeting in Bochum.
Anticipating the general workers' meeting and the related collection of signatures to the petition regarding the MetroPCS merger for our brothers and sisters in the US, we started putting together the ver.di table the night before the meeting and laid out all necessary material.
On November 21, the meeting started, the doors opened and the first bus loads of workers poured into the convention hall. There were coffee and sandwiches and we collected the first signatures. We used every opportunity to collect signatures - before the meeting and during the two breaks.
Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile are feeling the pressure today as news of their employee mistreatment and union busting spreads. On November 18, Der Spiegel, the well-respected German news weekly, released an article detailing the workplace abuses committed by T-Mobile USA and the efforts by both ver.di and CWA to bring justice to workers. The article describes the mistreatment faced by these workers as “brutal psychological terror.”
The story has been picked up by dozens of major German news outlets. Additionally, it’s spreading internationally and is being covered in the UK by Reuters, in the US by the Chicago Tribune, in Austria by Der Standard, in Switzerland by NZZ.
At ver.di's union youth conference for Deutsche Telekom trainees in October, young union workers showed solidarity with their brothers and sisters at T-Mobile USA. In various speeches throughout the 2-day event, speakers sharply criticized Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile USA management for their anti-union behavior.
Trainees at Deutsche Telekom in Bremen demonstrated their support for the "We Expect Better from Deutsche Telekom"-Campaign and pledged to stand in solidarity with their coworkers at T-Mobile USA.