Hamburg: Five construction workers murdered

Hereby we publish an unofficial translation of an article by the news-website Dem Volke Dienen, from Germany:

The Hamburg Fire Brigade received several emergency calls from 9.09 am on Monday, October 30, and hospitals were preparing for crowds of injured people. But when the approximately 150 rescuers of the fire brigade arrived in HafenCity, their help came too late for several workers at the construction site of the Westfield shopping district in the Überseequartier.

A scaffold in an elevator shaft had fallen from the eighth floor, burying five people under it. Only one of these workers was rescued alive by the fire brigade. At first there was still hope, because it was reported that he had been stabilized in the hospital, but nevertheless the man died of his injuries after a death struggle for days.

A fire department spokesman spoke of a “giant mikado” of debris at the scene of the accident. But this was a serious understatement for the danger in which the firefighters were working. They saw the lifeless bodies of the workers among the rubble, but they themselves threatened to be killed by other loose pieces of scaffolding if they approached.

Only after one and a half days the fifth dead man could be recovered. Using wooden pillars and chipboard, the firefighters had created several safe levels to be able to advance in the battlefield. So they were finally able to recover the last buried body early Tuesday evening. According to first information, the victims are workers from Southern and Eastern Europe, Albania and / or Bulgaria. The fact that the identities have not yet been completely clarified speaks volumes. An endless and opaque list of sub-, sub-sub-, etc., etc. Companies are covering up the miserable working conditions and undeclared work on such prestige construction sites, and everyone knows it. This mainly affects workers from the south and east of Europe.

About 1,400 workers regularly worked on the construction site in Hafencity, on the day of the accident, the day before Reformation Day, there were only a good half of them. Otherwise, more deaths would certainly have been to be lamented.

Hafencity as a whole is considered Europe’s largest city-centers urban development project. It is a prestigious object of the city of Hamburg. However, the district is not intended for most people of the city – only the “rich and beautiful” can afford an apartment there, go shopping or take advantage of the cultural offers.

There have already been several serious accidents on the construction sites in Hafencity. Most recently on September 2, at that time, four workers were injured in a similar accident at a construction site on the Hamburg Elbe Bridges, some of them life-threatening.

Again and again, construction or scaffolding parts fall into the depths and injure people, either because cheap material is used or because safety regulations are circumvented. It is therefore accepted with approval that workers die on the construction sites of the luxury quarter. This can not be called anything other than murder.

It is tragic and it is also tragic how the trade union leadership is positioning itself. Instead of demanding that those responsible be held accountable, that the client, site management or the Safety and Occupational Health Coordinator (SiGeKo) also be financially recourse, IG Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt (IG BAU) now raise funds. “Every donation, no matter how small, counts,” the head of IG BAU Nord, André Grundmann, is quoted as saying. The fact that it is completely different people who should be asked to pay, that such an accident must absolutely be prevented in the future, however, this does not occur to the union boss. Little wonder at the IG BAU, also known as the snitching-union, which demanded more measures against undeclared workers just in January this year.

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