The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Germany’s Four-Day Week:
A Nice-Sounding But Vicious Attack on Workers

Sep 28, 2020

Translated from The Red Banner (Das rote Tuch), the journal of the Revolutionary Workers Bund active in Germany.

Trade unions, the Social Democrats, the Greens, and the Lefts all claim to have a solution for workers, an alleged way to prevent layoffs during the crisis. They propose that companies with fewer orders begin a four-day week ... with only four days’ pay. In other words: we workers should give up our wages yet again.

To prove how well their proposal would work, they cite Bosch, ZF and Daimler, which reduced work hours recently. This summer ZF started the four-day week, without wage compensation, that is, with a wage cut of 20%! But jobs will not be preserved: 15,000 jobs are to be cut, while the remaining workers somehow have to get by with 20% lower wages. That is what their four-day week means. And how could it be otherwise? Without reaching into the profits of the capitalists in a crisis, the workers always have to pay.

We need our jobs and our wages. We cannot do without them! And we will only have a chance when we organize a fight to make the capitalists pay for their crisis themselves. We will have to force them to use a small part of their wealth to preserve all jobs in the current slump, and to divide the existing work among all workers, without cutting our pay!