Controversy over the “third way

The German Caritas Association has rejected accusations by the chairman of the service sector union Ver.di, Frank Bsirske, decisively rejected. To claim that the "Third Way" in labor law represents a breach of the Constitution is nonsense, said Caritas President Prelate Dr. Peter Neher our site.

Among other things, Bsirske had called the ban on strikes in church labor law "pre-democratic". He told the Berlin-based newspaper Die Welt: "Diakonie and Caritas claim they have sovereign rights of their own, so their 1.2 million employees should never be allowed to strike. This is pre-democratic. In my view, the "Third Way" is a violation of the law and turns 1.2 million employees into second-class employees."Diaconal agencies wanted to "gain competitive advantages over other providers by acting as if they were allowed to decide whether or not laws and fundamental rights guaranteed by constitutional law, such as the right to collective agreements or to strike, apply to their employees," according to Bsirske.

On the other hand, Neher said that church labor law stipulates that employees and employers seek consensual solutions in commissions with equal representation: "Every decision must be made with a 75 percent majority between the employer and employee sides. This would guarantee that all interests would be adequately considered. Article 140 of the Basic Law regulates the churches' right to self-determination as a special form of collective religious freedom. This is not an unjustified privilege, but corresponds to the prominent position of the two Christian churches in the Federal Republic of Germany. To claim that the "Third Way" represents a breach of collective bargaining is nonsense, Neher said.

Positive social example
Church labor law was not only a fully-fledged alternative to other paths in labor law, but could even be seen as a "positive social example".

Bsirkse had also spoken out against increasing temporary work and the outsourcing of individual areas of work to the private sector at Diakonie and Caritas. In this regard, Neher said that temporary work does not play a role in the facilities and services of Caritas
central role. Saying that the overwhelming number of Caritas employers are in the collective bargaining and wage-setting system.

In 2007, the German Caritas Association had adopted collective bargaining policy guidelines which
Declare spin-offs not permissible for reasons of collective bargaining policy. On the ie of temporary work, the Catholic Church has its employee representation right in the way
Changed that church employee representatives can reject temporary work of more than six months. This right goes beyond the right of works councils to intervene in operations.

The EKD representative to the federal government, Bernhard Felmberg, told the "Welt" on the subject that the church perceives that "even many politicians who are quite sympathetic to the churches have recently put clear exclamation marks where individual diaconal agencies have questioned the principle of the community of service through spin-offs or contract work.". The Diakonisches Werk der EKD is determined to "put an end to such uncontrolled growth". At the same time, he backed the Third Way. It functions "extraordinarily well in the established church and in the majority of diaconal institutions and is also appreciated and supported by church employees".

Politics also criticizes Kirch
Now the parliamentary groups in the Bundestag are also reacting to the dispute over church labor law. In an interview with "Die Welt," Siegmund Ehrmann, spokesman on religious policy for the SPD parliamentary group, emphasized that his party "is expressly positive about the possibility of the Third Way". But he wondered "whether the Third Way is still justified and whether the prerequisites of the service community principle are lived reality" when temporary workers are used and individual work areas of diaconal institutions are transformed into privately owned service companies.

The spokesman on religious policy for the FDP parliamentary group, Stefan Ruppert, sees a contradiction when the leaders of Diakonie and Caritas protest against wage dumping or temporary work, but would practice this in their own associations. Maria Flachsbarth of the CDU warned that the churches make high demands on themselves and must also take them seriously. However, they should first discuss this internally.

For the Greens, the spokesman for religious policy, Josef Winkler, criticized the fact that open homosexuality and the remarriage of divorced persons can be grounds for dismissal at Catholic Caritas: "In all church employment relationships that do not directly serve the proclamation of the Gospel, the church should end discrimination against those employees who do not live according to the marriage and sexual regulations of the church."

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Christina Cherry
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