An update on the labour struggle with Café Gagarin

veröffentlicht am 23. Juli 2022

The last weeks, the workplace struggle with Gagarin has been stagnating. We tried to reach out to them to continue the discussions multiple times. Their communication has been very confusing and contradictory, first they answered that they are still open to meet and discuss, and later – without any explanation – they announced that the communcation will be only via e-mail.

We want to make it clear – once again – that we do not give up our struggle until our rightful demand to receive the compensation for our union member for the missing wage parts is not fulfilled. We will be standing in solidarity, and continue to protest, and in the worst case, we are not afraid of going to the court.

In the following, you can read the message that our comrade, the former worker of the cafe sent to one of the collective members of Gagarin. In their previous communication, she/he criticized the methods of WAS but encouraged our union member to reach out to her/him. Sadly, our comrade never received any answer to her message.

Dear xyz.,

I’m sorry that you are disturbed about the methods of WAS, but you have to understand, it’s nothing personal. It’s a union, that is fighting against workplace exploitation, something that has been happening in Gagarin in multiple levels. Clearly it affected people with different status and privileges differently, this might be the reason why you can be still a dedicated worker of the cafe. Please understand, that I wouldn’t have gone to WAS if I had had any other options, but I did not. The lack of ability to take responsibility in the group and care for its workers brought me to the union. You have to understand: Gagarin lost workers who were there for years, who were very much part of the group, and not only me. And NOT because of personal issues. It has to be reflected on.

Unfortunately, I cannot be part of this reflection process, because I’m not there anymore due to the circumstances created by the group. The union is not there to support Gagarin in this process either, it exists to fight for the material conditions of the union members, and exploited workers. This reflection should happen from within, or with the help of the surrounding leftist communities. I really wish for Gagarin to look at the structure with all the hierarchies, violence, exploitation with genuine honesty, to take responsibility, and instead of public gaslighting, put all the energy to reflect and change the working conditions and working relationships – how it is written on the website where the space defines itself. This is what Gagarin promised to its workers and customers (even on the website).

We demand 5000€, because my experiences were worse than in a regular workplace, because I understood how all my rights were cut with the fake promise of collectivity, many rights I didn’t even know about (!).

I do not want to go to court, but if all the doors are closed, I have to. I cannot drop the demand of compensation completely. Not because I’m an evil money seeking liar, but because violence and exploitation cannot stay unaddressed. It has consequences. And since Gagarin was a place where I’ve been working for survival, not on voluntary basis, the consequences are financial.

However, I’d be more than happy if things didn’t escalate anymore, and we could continue the negotiation about the compensation together with you and the union.

I hope that you think about it and we can re-enter a negotiation process. Feel free to share this message with the group. All the best.


Artikel veröffentlicht am 10. Juli 2022 auf


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