Speaking during her Mayday tour of Brandenburg, Annelie Buntenbach, member of the DGB leadership, warned that otherwise unemployment and its consequences could quickly lead to political disillusionment.
“When unimaginable sums are paid out to save the banks, the least that can be expected is that the victims of the crisis are saved from Hartz IV,” she said, referring to the notoriously ungenerous bottom level social security.
She said the government must improve conditions for those who lose their jobs – and should do so before September's election.
“It cannot be acceptable that some are rewarded although they gambled away billions, while those who have worked for decades are left out in the rain,” she said.
She called for a statutory guarantee for all social security insurance policies, to make sure that those who lose their jobs are covered, and then said that the long-term aim should be to create a citizen's insurance against such an eventuality.
“We cannot sit idly by, while the Federal Agency for Work, or the health insurance companies create mountains of debt which they will never be able to pay off,” she said during the speech in Beeskow.
Yet despite the howls of protest from workers, the wave of job losses continues, with a further 2,000 confirmed to go at chemicals giant BASF.
Jürgen Hambrecht told shareholders at a meeting in Mannheim on Thursday that the planned number of 1,500 job cuts was to be raised to 2,000 across the group's global businesses.