The Mall of Shame saga rumbles on, with court proceedings continuing for another four Romanian workers who were due wages owed during the construction of the Mall of Berlin in 2014. Several of the workers have already had their time in court against the subcontractor Openmallmaster GmbH, and on August 5th, two of our members won a decisive victory. They are now officially owed 1,226 euro and 4,411 euro respectively, a sum calculated to the amount equivalent to the agreed standard wage in the construction sector at the relevant time.
Unfortunately, despite this recent courtroom success, the two following cases resulted in dismissal judgements against the workers. Despite acknowledging that both of them worked on the mall of Berlin construction site, the judges claim that they were unable to see a coherent demonstration that the workers had been working for the subcontractor Openmallmaster GmbH, and as a result the court rejected the claims, a decision FAU Berlin found incomprehensible. Openmallmaster GmbH continues to deny that the construction workers worked directly for them. On this particular occasion, the subcontractor couldn’t deny that Alexander ‘Sasha’ P. did indeed collaborate with them. The workers have testified that Sasha was one of the responsible persons for briefing the construction workers at the mall. Their counter claim was that Sasha worked for Openmallmaster GmbH only as a translator, and was paid by another company, BV & M Bauvertrieb und Management GmbH. The court’s decision was due to the fact that it was hard to prove which specific subcontractor or sub-subcontractor was responsible for the exploitation of these migrant workers. At the top of this tree of contractors, subcontractors and sub-subcontractors sits Fettchenhauer Controlling & Logistics GmbH (FCL), which went bankrupt shortly after the completion of the mall under the direction of its general manager Andreas Fettchenhauer. Investor Harald Huth, by means of a holding company, has a majority share in FCL. It’s a situation the court has referred to as ‘complex’, but FAU Berlin prefers the terms ‘shady’ and ‘exploitative’.Despite the setback in these two cases, there was further courtroom success as another two of the workers were judged in favour of by default, due to nobody showing up to defend Openmallmaster GmbH. These workers are now owed 1,789 euro and 4,345 euro respectively. The judge in the case speculated that the defendant’s lawyer may have resigned, somewhat ironically, due to lack of payment. The hearings concerning three wage lawsuits against another subcontractor, Metatec-Fundus GmbH & Co. KG, took place October 28th, the judgements were clearly in favour of the FAU members: In this cases, the court assumed that the respective workers indeed worked for Metatec-Fundus, though this was denied by two representatives of the company. The workers are now owed more than 1,000 euro each. FAU Berlin is now legally examining how to deal with the two dismissal decisions, and will continue to do all in its power to make responsible the involved parties. The first round is over, but there will most likely be a second.More information can be found on berlin.fau.org/mall.