Workers should not have to pay the costs of the energy crisis

Hans-Jürgen Urban

It’s not correct. Admittedly, government measures are discussed differently at the DGB. But Verdi (the United Services Union) and IG Metall, for example, clearly criticized the package. There is no doubt that €300 or €200 in increases in housing allowances and child allowances – and other things for students, pensioners and people on low incomes – are too little. But they are nothing. Nevertheless, the overall package is far from sufficient. The single amounts do not allow to face permanent additional charges. There is no immediate relief for employees, a gas price cap is missing, and exactly how the electricity price brake is supposed to work is anything but clear.

What is missing is support for blue-collar workers and, above all, elements of a redistributive policy that raises the necessary funds from corporations and the wealthy. In addition, there are unprecedented regulatory and distributive movements. I refer, for example, to the “Gasumlage” [allowing gas importers to pass on any cost rises to consumers], which openly redistributes funds from the bottom up. As if it were normal for consumers to pay money to energy companies which, thanks to the absence of an excess profits tax, can make a profit and get rid of their entrepreneurial risk. This is absurd. It would make more sense to use the energy supply crisis as an opportunity to discuss the nationalization of energy companies that cannot guarantee energy supply. The German government would do well to take this into account. Otherwise, its loss of reputation among the population could continue.

At the same time, the expansion of renewable energies must be pushed decisively. The irresponsible calls to delay the exit from nuclear power, in particular by the Greens, leave you speechless. IG Metall pressured the industry for tangible relief with a campaign under the slogan “Put a lid on it – skim the profits from the crisis”. There is still a lot to come.

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