Werner Rugemer
In Rich Germany: Even More Mini Jobs

In Rich Germany: Even More Mini Jobs

Werner Rugemer//1:10am, Nov 17th '21

The new government to be formed in wealthy Germany wants to divide work into many more small jobs and the profiteers of the Corona policy are rejoicing.

"We want to make mini-jobs more attractive": despite all the other points of contention, the three parties SPD, Greens and FDP were able to quickly agree on this. The earnings limit of mini-jobs is to be raised from 450 euros to 520 euros per month. And the entry into the private share pension proposed by BlackRock&Co would also contribute to the impoverishment of dependent employees.

Corona Policy: Expansion of the Minijobs is already going on

But the expansion of mini-jobs - that has long been underway, without the announced "improvements."

  • Many hundreds of thousands of lower-ranking employees and self-employed workers, driven to unemployment by the pandemic policy, are already struggling to find new mini-jobs: additional mini-jobs have been encouraged by the pandemic policy, for example, for supermarket and restaurant bicycle delivery services and for electric scooter care.
  • And small, medium and large companies - church-run old people's homes, bakeries, cleaning companies, but also large retail and logistics groups such as Amazon - can use digitization to divide the work they do into ever smaller portions, i.e. mini-jobs that can be used, shifted, or terminated depending on the time and quantity required.
  • Example: Mini-job offers in the free Kölner Wochenspiegel newspaper

    Mass media for the lower classes of society have been acting as service providers for this development for months. Take the Kölner Wochenspiegel, for example: It is the most widely circulated newspaper in the megacity of Cologne: 516,000 copies. It is distributed free of charge to all households every weekend by the leading Cologne newspaper publisher DuMont Schauberg, at least in the poorer parts of the city, if not in the villa districts of the better-off.

    Of the 12 printed pages, most are filled with advertisements for new savings prices and special offers, as well as help with everyday worries: "How to get a grip on sexual weakness" and "Hair loss? Bald spots? Here's help from the pharmacy." Homey editorial shorts feature the helpful resident, for example, "Collecting trash for a clean neighborhood."

    But three full pages are tightly printed with job listings and job applications. Three-quarters of the offers and applications are for mini-jobs. They are now still limited to 450 euros - soon to be 520 euros. First and foremost is the publishing house itself: It is constantly looking for mini-jobbers for the weekly distribution of the Wochenspiegel, including child labor: "Anyone from the age of 13 can work for us." Through the global temporary employment agency Randstad, the Wochenspiegel publishing house is also looking for commercial assistants in the data entry area.


    Loading helper, warehouse helper, night porter, sex phone operator ...

    We are looking for loading assistants, warehouse assistants, assembly assistants, warehouse assistants, co-drivers, temporary drivers - if possible with their own car -, household helpers for private households, office helpers, kitchen helpers, dishwashers, menu assistants, janitor helpers, winter maintenance workers, cleaners, room cleaners, security staff, night porters, shipping staff, sales assistants for the Christmas market, telephone customer service staff in the emergency medical field, telephone operator for a flirtline - all wanted on a mini-job basis.

    Most offers go through agencies and intermediaries. But some companies have direct offers. Thus, the church St. Bonifatius - dormitory looks for mini-jobbers for cleaning, laundry and service. The Service Group Stölting is looking for cleaners to clean hospitals. Ambulante Krankenpflege Hamacher is looking for a 450-E worker to provide care and assistance to the elderly. Nationwide WISAG Facility Service is looking for cleaners for industry. The cake manufactory deineTorte.de is advertising for temporary workers, students, part-time and full-time employees. Hotels, retirement homes, restaurants, cleaning companies and an erotic service providers are looking directly, but usually do not give their names.

    The companies know that even poor retirees increasingly need a part-time job. Therefore, typically they offer a "sprightly pensioner" janitorial work. At the same time, the discreet note "Your profile: flexible in terms of time and physically resilient" is often not missing.

    Political correctness along with exploitation

    Many ads are super-friendly, following the U.S. model: The buddy-like "you" prevails: "We offer you flexible working models ..." it says. "A young, motivated team awaits you," is the promise. Small appetizers are also offered: So the Tortenmanufaktur deineTorte.de offers free cakes in addition to the 450 euros.

    And all job offers follow a super politically correct format of occupation indication in all cases; in brackets the indication (m, w, d), d for diverse, thus for all sexes and genders. The "sprightly pensioner" we are looking for may be of any gender, may be m or w or d. Exploitation, yes, but now gender sensitive - the pre-dawn gender muffleheads from the conservative Christian parties no longer have anything to say. Now it is green, liberal and social democratic.

    Those in need offer themselves

    In addition to job offers from companies and intermediaries, the Wochenspiegel also publishes job applications from job seekers themselves. Among them are not just a few pensioners. They often indicate their situation:

  • Retired psychiatric nurse offers hourly assistance to seniors.
  • Retired roofer seeks part-time work
  • Polish woman seeks work, 10 years work experience
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  • Retired man (70 years old) seeks work (night shift)
  • Garden work cheap and fast
  • Young woman seeks cleaning job in private home
  • Through the Corona policy even more women in poverty

    During the 16 years in government of Christian conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel, the number of mini-jobs gradually expanded from four to seven million, in the context of stagnating and declining labor incomes among the majority of dependent employees. As a result, not only conventional poverty but also pension poverty increased.

    Under the female chancellor Merkel, the number of mini-jobbers among women has increased particularly sharply. As a result, many women who are poor at the age of retirement and have to earn extra: They work in mini-jobs. In 2020, this amounted to 1.04 million people. Between the ages of 75 and 85, 207,586 retirees kept their heads above water with mostly marginal work such as cleaning, deliveries and office services; at the age of 85 and older, there were still 12,101 in Germany!

    The federal government's Corona policy hit precarious workers the hardest. They became unemployed in retail, catering, etc. Most of them, like the mini-jobbers, do not get short-time allowance. So they are now the labor reservoir, for example, for the delivery services promoted by this policy like Wolt, Tier, Gorillas, Lift, Flink, and for Amazon's new delivery subcontractors. The forced digitalization is used to divide the volume of work into ever smaller and more mobile portions.

    The crowdworkers for software puzzles, for example, in making digitally controlled cars and for other piecemeal home office work - however, they are not sought in media that caters to the poor like the Kölner Wochenspiegel, but elsewhere.

    Preventing the abuse of mini-jobs in the future?

    All these companies rely on mini-jobs and other forms of precarious employment as a permanent condition. Since the restrictive promise of the new neoliberals to prevent the abuse of the upgraded mini-jobs and also not to let them become a part-time trap for women is pure demagogy. The Institute for Employment Research IAB of the Federal Employment Agency has empirically proven 2021: Since their introduction in 2003, 450-euro jobs have increasingly become a trap from which most men and women can no longer escape. The promised bridging function into a regular full time employment does not exist.

    After all, the social democratic party SPD, which is leading the new coalition, not only implanted the "largest low-wage sector in Europe" under its chancellor Gerhard Schröder starting in 2000, but has also constantly expanded the number of mini-jobs and led millions of women into the trap since 2005 under Merkel with her SPD labor ministers. Now, under the leadership of ex-Labor Minister Olaf Scholz/SPF as the new head of government, are things suddenly supposed to change?

    In addition to the mini-job trap, there is also the private pension trap

    As quickly as with the greater "attractiveness" of minijobs, the three parties have also agreed on the entry into the private share pension. The lobbyists of BlackRock&Co send their regards.

    Thus the future pensioners are to tremble along with the increase of the share values, hoping for the fastest possible and high profits for the shareholders – which will happen if there are as many mini-jobs as possible along with other precarious working conditions.

    In addition to the mini-job trap, there is also the private pension trap.


    Reconsider !

    To prevent the establishment of this even more "attractive" labor, poverty, pension market in favor of high-income households, nursing home operators, housing corporations up to Amazon; against the modernized neoliberals, against the rejuvenated conservatives - seems impossible at the moment.

    The new capitalist "environmental" policy also completely ignores labor relations. The rich German car companies are shifting the production and supply of the new electric cars to the poor low-wage countries of Eastern Europe. This is responsible for unemployment.

    Western capitalism must not continue like this. The democratic opposition, the trade unions and left parties must start anew. We must promote human rights in the areas of work relations, the economy, housing, health, knowledge, education and culture straight into the rich-poor Germany , the wealthy European Union and all over the US-led western capitalism. We must strive to strengthen the self-organization of those concerned! And network internationally!

    For the context of labor injustice in rich Germany and European Union see:

    Werner Rügemer: Imperium EU – Labor Injustice, Crisis, New Resistances. Tredition 2021, 286 pages, also as e-Book

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