Frank Bsirske retires: "They just love you" – business

Among those who applauded, there are not many who fought fiercely with Frank Bsirske. Thomas de Maizière, for example, the former Federal Minister of the Interior, or the former Minister of Finance of Lower Saxony, Hartmut Möllring, who wanted to "break the cross" there are many years as a negotiator of the Verdi federal states, as Bsirske says.

On Wednesday afternoon, they all got up in the Chancellery tipi to help Bsirske make it easier to retire, with long applause. In fact, the chancellor had wanted to come from the neighborhood, but the meeting with Emmanuel Macron had prevented Angela Merkel from attending the farewell gala of the most important German trade unionist in recent years.


After more than 18 years in office, Frank Bsirske was sold a little over three weeks ago and was replaced by "Frank II", his former deputy Frank Werneke, as head of the unified services union Verdi.

Bsirske is interested in people

Bsirske was thanked by half a dozen speakers and a few hundred guests, including Klaus Wowereit, Eon Director General, Johannes Teyssen, DIHK President, Eric Schweitzer, representatives of the party and many former and current union leaders. For the employers joined Thomas Böhle, who had to carry out ten collective bargaining with Bsirske as president of the municipal employers over the years.

It went well. The two collective bargaining partners became friends and jointly modernized the right to collective bargaining for the public service in 2005. At the time, "a revolution", as Böhle said, but the BAT to dust with an increase in income after age was finally abolished. "There have never been any personal attacks," Böhle told Bsirske after long nights of bargains. Of course: be noisy, run and knock – this is part of it because "collective bargaining is also a big theater".

But the strong and fair trading partner, Bsirske, always knew where he could go. And where not. "You have to dismount when you realize you're riding a dead horse," Böhle said. And you must be able to count. Over the years with Bsirske, Böhle has observed an "incredible affection of Verdi members" for their president. "They love you just because you're interested in them."

Merkel instead of Schröder

This aspect was heard by some speakers, for example an Austrian trade union friend, who has the goosebumps ever since today, as soon as he recounted how Bsirske had once offered his help to Vienna to friends in the need. According to the director of the DGB, Reiner Hoffmann, Bsirske, whose often sprawling political journals demanded many other trade unionists, could also listen very well. "And he has an amazing ability to approach people." And stay constantly on course.

Almost all the speakers recalled this afternoon the legal minimum wage introduced in 2015 – and probably in the form most of the time without Verdi or the president of Verdi, who had already beaten the baton for ten years. Chancellery Minister Helge Braun, who came for Merkel, paid tribute to the minimum wage as a "bright star" at Bsirskes in recent years, after suffering so much from the politics of the agenda of Gerhard Schröder ten years ago.

Bsirske himself later stressed "his high regard for the Chancellor as a person" and once again seized the opportunity to miss Schröder. "When her predecessor became authoritarian, she starts arguing."

Good years for Verdi and Germany

The Chancery Brown had once seen how many heads of state were in office longer than Bsirske: there are 23. "But few of them are democratically elected." For its part, Bsirske was re-elected to the Verdi union summit of two million members every four years, formed in 2001 following the merger of five organizations.

During all these years of ups and downs, Verdi has remained "powerful," said CDU politician Braun praising the work of Bsirskes, who introduced a "revolutionary membership participation". Thanks to Bsirske, the public service is also an attractive employer, said Braun, welcoming the price increases imposed by Verdi.

Most importantly, the unionists liked to hear Braun's commitment that collapsing collective bargaining "also haunts the federal government". If less than 50% of companies do not apply more tariffs, a tolerance threshold is reached, said the Minister of Chancery and called on those present to continue their work on the subject. Bsirske does not concern him anymore.

"Thank you very much for 18 good years in Verdi and Germany," said Braun on behalf of the Federal Chancellor.

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