Hamburg’s elite school: teachers are on strike, but schools remain difficult

Now the teachers of a well-known private school in Hamburg have had enough: there has been a dispute with the school management for almost a year and there is still no agreement in sight. The teachers are already on strike and the first two lessons will be held on Thursday. Because they have a very specific purpose.

Teachers at the International School of Hamburg (ISH) on Hemmingstedter Weg are upset: they have not received a pay rise since 2019. The Hamburg Education and Science Union (GEW) argues that wages have actually fallen by ten percent due to high inflation.

School in Hamburg: Teachers want collective agreement

If it was just about the salary, the school administration and the teachers could probably come to an agreement. ISH has offered a seven percent increase. But the vast majority of teachers want one thing above all: a collective agreement. They have been fighting for this since May 2022. Because school management changes so often, teachers no longer want to rely on management’s promises, says trade unionist Birgit Rettmer. They want security and they want negotiations on an equal basis.”

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However, ISH remains determined and would rather have a working agreement. Some teachers at the school already earned 30 percent more than public sector workers, “and we’ve had good experiences over the decades with arranging these things in a trust way within the framework of company agreements,” says an ISH spokeswoman. MOPO. Compared to other international schools in Germany, teachers have “one of the most attractive salary and pension systems”.

Hamburg teacher: “We mean business!”

There are already collective agreements in the international schools in Munich and Frankfurt. GEW’s Suspicion: The Board is Trying to Dissuade Employees from Demanding Collective Bargaining with Wage Offers.

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And what do parents say? The salary offer is one of the reasons why school fees for the next school year have increased by five to six percent. “We were all surprised that the response to this was a strike,” says Christine Jope, vice-president of the Parents’ Association.

“None of us want students to suffer because of a strike,” says a teacher who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. Unfortunately, the extracurricular activities did not convince the employer. “Now he leaves us no choice but to show with this signal: We mean business”.

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