German unions fight to protect trainees

13 April 2020 12:47

BWI affiliates, IG Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt (IG BAU) and IG Metall have called for urgent government support to protect positions and income of trainees that have been excluded from support measures launched by the government for companies and workers during the pandemic. Vocational schools have been closed, trainees are being sent home and some face the threat of dismissal by companies that are in distress as a result of the crisis.

The unions are opposing a proposal from the Central Association of German Crafts and the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry for companies to apply short-time work benefit rules for trainees. Under this proposal, trainees will only receive statutory short-time work allowances of 60 percent of their net training allowances. The unions are arguing that this is far below what a person needs to live on. 

The unions argue that German law clearly stipulates that companies should continue to pay the full training allowance for up to six weeks even without work, stating that even during the COVID-19 crisis there are creative solutions to ensure good quality of training, including digital opportunities and online training.