Herrschaftsfreie Basisgewerkschaft – Österreichische Sektion der IAA

Tüwi finally pays!

In ArbeiterInnenkämpfe Ö, Arbeitsrecht, English, Gastronomie, Solidarity on 18. März 2023 at 18:31

Dieser Artikel auf Deutsch

After more than a year of workers’ struggle, Tüwi has finally decided to pay an out-of-court settlement to an illegally dismissed worker. But this is just the start.

Since more than a year a group of Tüwi’s workers have started protesting against the unbearable conditions in which the Verein, as well as the Tüwi kitchen and Beisl, are. The main demands have been raising the salary to the minimum and that the tips stay with the workers (until September 2022 workers at Tüwi were only earning 8 euros per hour and, to this day, they cannot keep the tip money).

On top of this, workers have been asking for more accountability and transparency in the way the association is run. In fact, the current manager and other coordinators have been barring people that are members of the association from checking its finances, while systematically silencing and marginalizing dissent. Even though Tüwi supposedly has statutes, the decision-making of the collective has been repeatedly overruled by a small group of people that are in power positions.

In September 2022, one of the people most involved in the internal conflict has been unilaterally fired by Tüwi’s manager. The reason he explicitly gave was that the person was making “too much trouble” and that he did not want “Tüwi to become another Gagarin”.

Even though Tüwi and Gagarin have very different structures, they are both commercial places that are based on an ideal of collective values and solidarity. They “sell” a space where people like to spend their money because they believe it will not be paid to some huge capitalist multinational and where they can hang without any pressure because the prices of food and drinks are low.

The problem is that both spaces have shown not to be able to live up to their standards or even to show self-criticism. Shady power structures are one part of the problem, which needs to be solved internally. The other part is, and there is no way around this, people need to be paid fairly for their work!
The standards set by law are the very minimum for survival. We as anti-capitalists should aim for more and this should be clear even within the leftist scene.

As Tüwi’s manager has finally decided to comply with the minimum legal standards, WAS has not started any campaign as it happened in Gagarin. In fact, WAS’s aim is not to crush leftist spaces in Vienna, which we appreciate and see value in (see for example WAS’s support of Tüwi in 2018).

WAS’ aim is to support workers in their material conditions and making explicit the economic exploitation that keeps marginalized people in their marginalized positions.
We are an anarcho-syndicalist union: we do not get any money and/or reputation from carrying on labour disputes, we all put our free time and energy into our mutual aid network and the only reason why WAS has been involved in these disputes is because the affected workers organized in WAS have taken upon their own hands to change their situation.
It is up to the “Viennese lefitst scene” to ask for accountability from these spaces, and it is up to the spaces themselves to change their structures and end the exploitation of the workers.

Flyer about basic workers rights in Tüwi from the 11th of November 2022

Finally, Tüwi’s manager has agreed to pay out-of-court 3,000 euros which are unpaid wages (such as: non compliance with the minimum wage, unpaid holidays, unpaid 13. and 14. salaries, overtime, etc.) plus 5 months of full wages as compensation money to the dismissed worker.

But the struggle of Tüwi’s workers is not over. More Tüwis are starting actions against the management because the internal structures, who turn more and more authoritarian, do not allow for democratic decision-making and expression of dissent.
The WAS will stays in class solidarity with workers struggling in Tüwi and supporting their actions.

There is no “integration” possible through economic exploitation!

You can contact the workers in struggle at tuewi-workers-united@riseup.net

Flyer about basic workers rights in Tüwi from the 11th of November 2022 (as PDF)

Veröffentlicht auf dem WAS-Blog am 18. 3. 2023. Kopieren mit Quellenverweis möglich.


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