'Benefits rebel' makes deal with city of Hamburg

DPA/The Local
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'Benefits rebel' makes deal with city of Hamburg
Inge Hannemann at a November hearing in the Hamburg labour court. Photo: DPA

The city of Hamburg agreed to give a woman who refused to sanction long-term unemployed people while working at a Jobcenter a new post.


After she was suspended in April 2013 from the Hamburg-Altona Jobcenter, 46-year-old Inge Hannemann became known as the “Hartz IV [unemployment benefit] rebel” for refusing to withdraw the payments from the job seekers she advised.

“I was shoved out because I made failings public,” Hannemann, who is a local councillor for the Left (Linke) Party and standing for election to Hamburg's city council in February, told the city labour court.

But the Hamburger Abendblatt reported on Monday that she has agreed to switch to the Integration Office (Integrationsamt), where she will help disabled people into the job market.

More than 50 of her supporters attended the hearing on Monday, some carrying signs reading “Get Mad!”.

“Nothing would have happened if I had carried out my job according to the rules,” Hannemann continued.

But the city representatives quickly lost patience with her use of the courtroom as a soapbox.

“You're not giving a speech in parliament here,” the lawyer for the city told Hannemann.

Despite the disagreements between the two, the presiding judge was able to get them to agree to the new arrangement under which Hannemann will work at the Integration Office from now on.

But Hannemann has another legal action open against the city for unfair dismissal and won't let her new job stop her from fighting it.

“I've been promoted out of the way because of this,” she said.

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