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The End Of Representation

The End Of Representation

German

|

56 min

| 2009 |

hits: 13668

Emmely and the retail strike

In the last few years, the workers' situation in the retail sector has dramatically worsened. While the workload is approaching the limits of what is physically bearable, the gap between their wages and living costs is constantly growing. All the while company profits constantly increase: between 2000 and 2006 they have risen by 64.3%. When at the end of 2006 employers wanted to cut late and night-time bonuses, to many employees this was the straw that broke the camel's back; it was the beginning of the longest and toughest wage dispute in the German retail sector.

The film accompanies the strikers over a period of several months. Women, who have been working in the retail sector for decades, get a chance to speak. Many of them have never been on strike before. Many are single mothers, work part-time, and their salary is so low, they have to go and "seek food" at their relatives' houses. For some of them, Emmely for example, engaging in this strike becomes a personal disaster. After having organised the strike in her local branch of Kaiser’s, she is dismissed without notice on a pretext. In her lawsuit for reinstatement she experiences how German labour laws are strongly biased towards company interests.

The film tries to find answers: Why are the employees and their organisations unable to prevail against their employers? The film investigates how workers engaged in the strike, analyses the strategies of the strike committee and the shop stewards' role. It also describes the interventions of leftist groups in support of the strikers.

team: kanalB

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