Unions Mobilize against Agenda 2010 (May 24, 2003)
On May Day of 2003, the Confederation of German Trade Unions [Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund or DGB] issued an appeal called “Yes to Reforms, No to Cuts in Social Spending.” In it, the DGB criticized the social cuts outlined in Agenda 2010 and demanded greater equity in the distribution of resources. After the SPD and the unions engaged in unsuccessful talks on Agenda 2010, the DGB called for repeated protests. On May 24, 2003, it organized a national action day in more than a dozen German cities, the goal being to express the “displeasure felt by the unions’ grass roots.” Although approximately 6,000 people came out to protest Agenda 2010 in Kassel (above), the total number of participants in the DGB's national action day campaign – approximately 90,000, or just 1.22 percent of the DGB membership – fell far short of the organizers’ expectations. In view of the disappointing turnout, the DGB suspended the protest campaign for a time. Photo: Uwe Zucchi.