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Germany | Kaiserreich
[P|S|M]
The German Social Democratic Party's executive board appeals for support for the striking miners in the Ruhrgebiet (Ruhr District), January 17th 1905
note : Ruhrgebiet is the mining district located on the banks of the river Ruhr, in Prussia's provinces Westfalen and Rheinprovinz.

The staff of the Bruchstrasse mine has entered in a strike. The purpose is to avoid an extension of the duration of the working shift. All attempts bei the workers and their elected representatives to find a peaceful solution have failed because of the obstinacy of the mine administration. The latter, over and above, wants to make public opinion believe this would only be an 'alteration of the man haulage', not an extension of the working shift. But all practical men do know that the 'alteration of man haulage' results in an extension of the working shift.

The signing executive committees declare that they, under no circumstances, are willing nor entitled to accept an extension of the shift, and that they regard, in the interest of the deteriorated health of the workers, regard a reduction of the working shift on legal basis as necessary.

With this in mind, we declare our full sympathy with the Bruchstrasse strikers and promise to support them morally and financially in a struggle which was forced on them. In addition, the signees commit themselves to answer any attempt on the side of the employers to extend the working hours, presently too long anyhow, at other mines, with determined resistance. This we have to do, in the name of the comradery and the honour of our organization.

We are also determined to posthaste send a petition to the government and to parliament, with the aim of causing a speedy reform to protect the workers. We demand an exact regulation of the duration of a shift, of the man hauling time, of piece-work and pay, the abolition of the 'Nullen' (1), pay according to weight and performance, admittance of labour inspectors to supervise the calculation of the performance (scale inspectors) as well as to inspect the mines in order to prevent accidents. In addition we demand that the presently poorly managed provident funds are regulated by law; also protection of the workers against the brutality of certain state officials.

By uniting to jointly ward off any attempts to extend the working shift in particular, and to speedily occasion the legislative to interfere with the intention to protect the miners, the executive committees of the signee organizations which represent a combined membership of 111.000 in the Ruhrgebiet, urgently appeal to all comrades to follow their elected representatives, to keep strict discipline. No staff may act without consent of the organization leaders. If the employers would like to see a general strike, it is all the more reason for us to warn against a wild, rash strike ! At the present time, according to our opinion, a general stike would be a disaster for the miners; thus listen to the voices of your elected leaders ! We only want your best. Keep calm, undertake no step without communicating with the organization leaders. But do help the colleagues in the Bruchstrasse who fight for their right, by preventing strike breakers coming in from other mines, by not tolerating any strike breakers in your area, by refusing overtime work. Thus you can support the Bruchstrasse in a better way than by a general strike, which certain employers only are waiting for.

Comrades ! In this aroused time we appeal to you ! Strictly keep discipline; do not permit yourself to get provoked, keep calm, strengthen your organizations as fast as you can ! Unity provides strength !

With a wholehearty Gluck auf (2) !

For the Bergarbeiterverband (Mine Workers' Union):
H. Sachse

For the Christlicher Gewerkverein (Christian Craft Union):
Herm. Koster

For the Hirsch-Dunckerschen Gewerkverein (Hirsch-Duncker's Craft Union):
B. Hammacher

For the Polnische Berufsvereinigung (Polish Trade Union):
Zjednoczenie rawod. polskie:
Joh. Brzeskot


(1) "wagennullen" : it pertains to the practise to sort out mine cars which have too high a percentage of something other than coal. They were indicated with a zero (null in German) and the miner was not paid for it.

(2) "Gluck auf : traditional German miners' greeting, translating to 'good luck on your way up' - expressing the hope that he will get up and not suffer from a mine accident.


Dokumente und Materialien zur deutschen Arbeiterbewegung (Documents and Materials pertaining to the German Workers' Movement), Series I, Vol. 4 1889-1914, ed. by the Institute for Marxism-Leninism at the Central Committee of the SED Berlin (DDR) 1967, p. 129f; quoted after : Gudrun Dormann und Alexander Decker, Die deutsche Sozialdemokratie (The German Social Democracy), in: Materialien zum historisch-politischen Unterricht 1 (Materials for Historical-Political Instruction), ed. by H. Hoffacker. Stuttgart 1975/79, p. 18; listed on psm-data geschichte by permission
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