Biography of Three Trade Unionists with a Migration Background

Poster: Manifestation Pour L'Egalité
January 26, 2015
Oliver Trede

This paper looks at the background and experiences of three influential German trade unionists and how they came into the positions that they hold today. Two of the three men, Giovanni Pollice and Francesco Grioli, work for the IG Bergbau, Chemie, Energie (IG BCE). Nihat Ozturk works for IG Metall.  IG BCE is widely recognized as a leader in migration work, and this is in large part due to Giovanni Pollice's special commitment to the issue.  However, despite all three men having foreign backgrounds, Grioli and Ozturk do not focus on migrant work, and none of the men believe that their migration experiences or backgrounds are what have led to their top positions in the union. Regardless of background, all three men started at low-skilled, entry-level positions and made their way up through the support of union leaders and officials who took special interest in them, whether for their abilities, specific background, or both.

All three will continue to make a big impact on the German labor movement with their accomplishments, even as its focus moves towards and emphasis on temporary employment and the involvement of young people.