Germany: Unions demand Coronavirus aid for self-employed workers

The United Services Union (Ver.di) and the International Federation of Journalists have backed calls for measures to cushion the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on freelance journalists and media workers in Germany.

A journalist works during a press conference in Berlin. Credits: Bernd von Jutrczenka / POOL / AFP

Finance Ministers from the country's federal states have proposed that the German government provide 1,000 euros to every self-employed worker, including journalists and media professionals, for three months.

Ver.di chairman Frank Werneke, along with the leaders of the unions of the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB), took part in talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel in March seeking financial help for freelancers. 

Following the talks, the German and some federal governments announced aid packages for self-employed workers and small businesses. 

But the union claims the measures have favoured small business but do not apply to many individual freelance journalists. 
Now they are backing the federal states proposals to address the issue - but calling on the states themselves to do more too.

“The initiative of the Conference of Ministers for Economic Affairs of the Länder is addressing this pressing problem. However, it is not enough to appeal only to the federal government - the federal states themselves are equally responsible, and Baden-Württemberg, in particular, is setting a good example”, added Werneke.

In Baden-Württemberg region, self-employed workers can receive 1,180 euros per month through a simple application form.  

However, not all regions have set up additional support programs.

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