Bonn: Agreement in the wage dispute of workers from the Bornheim “asparagus strike”

An out-of-court settlement has been reached in the dispute over back wages for over a hundred Romanian seasonal workers of the insolvent Ritter asparagus estate. This is what the grassroot union Free Workers’ Union (FAU) Bonn was able to find out on request The agreement was reached between the legal representation of the seasonal workers, the lawyers Harald Klinke and Stefan Hübner, and the insolvency administration of Klaus & Sabine Ritter GbR, the law firm Schulte-Beckhausen & Bühs. Both parties have agreed not to disclose the content of the agreement. However, since negotiations on owed wages were ranging at around 100,000 Euros in July 2020 already, it can be assumed that the final settlement was not lower than the amount in dispute at that time.


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Strike in Bornheim – what was it good for?

On Friday, May 15, 2020, roughly 200 harvest workers working on the farm Spargel & Erdbeerhof Ritter in Bornheim near Bonn went on strike. The insolvent company managed by law firm Schulte-Beckhausen had decided to throw the mostly Romanian workers out and to cast them out of their lodgings in the next few days. We have been accompanying, supporting and organizing on site since day one.

The last workers left Bornheim a week after we arrived. Our work on the strike in Bornheim is far from over. Nevertheless, we would like to put on record what we have achieved:

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Strike in Bornheim: Last workers leave

A good week of sweat, tears, cheers and frustration is drawing to a close. The last workers leave – whether to Romania or to new jobs. The promises made by the Romanian consulate to take care of job placement and homeward journeys were met only rudimentarily. The FAU, on the other hand, remained active and in solidarity, finding new jobs and travel opportunities together with numerous supporters and in constant consultation with the workers. We stay in touch to support the individual solutions.

On the one hand, there is now a long, intensive phase of legal processes surrounding wage claims. We are happy about the active support from our lawyers, who have already faced major challenges in the past few days and have been confronted with unforeseeable situations.

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Press Release: Spargel Ritter in Bornheim – Illegal eviction threatens!

Since 15 May 2020, part of the workforce of Claus und Sabine Ritter GbR in Bornheim has been on strike over the payment of wages to which they are entitled. After six days of strike and a wage payment for some of the Romanian workers, the Romanian Minister of Labour announced on 20 May during a visit on site that she had agreed on a three-point programme with the responsible insolvency administrator Schulte-Beckhausen. This includes the payment of all outstanding wage claims, the organisation of the return journey of workers at the expense of the Romanian government and the placement of workers on other farms with the help of the farmers’ association. Continue reading “Press Release: Spargel Ritter in Bornheim – Illegal eviction threatens!”

“And they charged us for accommodation!”

(See also the video on Youtube.)

The harvesters of the Asparagus and Strawberry Farm Ritter have been accommodated behind the fence of a container facility on the street “Am Ühlchen” in Bornheim for several years. These two-storey blocks of flats each consist of about 30 bedrooms, a few shower and toilet units, a storage room and a washing and drying room. Three such blocks are located on the site, wedged between a railway line and a water treatment plant. Continue reading ““And they charged us for accommodation!””