Interview with the dismissed head of ig metall in bamberg: “it was not an organized putsch”
A dispute in the IG metall bamberg has cost the first authorized representative matthias gebhardt his office. His surprising dismissal at the delegates’ meeting hit the long-serving front man of the most important union in bamberg completely unexpectedly and personally. In an interview, the 54-year-old deals with the scandal, assesses the situation of IG metall and gives an outlook on his personal future.
How deep is the shock after your deselection?? Matthias gebhardt: please understand that i was not yet in a position to comment on this in the first days due to the events. I am doing this now for the first and last time. My ouster, my fall as the first authorized representative of IG metall bamberg, caused stunnedness, incomprehension and head-shaking among my family, my friends and my bavarian colleagues. I myself am massively disappointed and humiliated by the greatest blow in my professional life.
The blow came unexpectedly. In retrospect, where do you see the reasons for the deselection?? Gebhardt: my opinion is that there was no organized dismantling or "coup" there was intrigue.
Why then this eclat? Gebhardt: several factors led to disastrous result. I am accused of two facts, where two relatively small groups, but nevertheless a minority that cannot be overlooked, started the meeting with a goal in mind. These things are being worked through by those now responsible on the local board with the support of IG metall bavaria. These enjoyed my fullest confidence. A series of personal memorandums from individual delegates unfortunately also led to a number that should not be underestimated. In addition, a strange assembly dynamics and also the corona exception state.
They were accused of bossiness …
Gebhardt: I reflect self-critically that my sometimes rough, edgy "upper palatinate" style is not what I had in mind art, coupled with a portion of impatience over the years has not helped. It makes me think, however, and is a bitter realization that some small matters, which I thought had long been settled, are valued more highly for individuals, and there were a few too many, than nine and a half years of work and commitment.
Your strategy on job retention and technology change at bosch are also considered points of criticism … Gebhardt: that is very important to me. Securing the location and employment of bosch bamberg is an elementary building block for the future of the region. The 35-member works council under the leadership of mario gutmann, supported by more than 300 IG metall store stewards, the bamberg office and the bavarian district management, pushed through, or rather wrested, this agreement from the company management. The employee contribution is high and hard, but the six-year security with investments and jerks of products from abroad is outweighed by nothing. I ask cordially to respect and accept this in the environment of the enterprise with its 7000 employees. Bosch had and continues to have a strong and assertive works council on which the workforce can rely.
How does it go on for the IG metall now?
Gebhardt: i am absolutely convinced that IG metall bamberg will reorganize, recover and overcome this deep blow and will again represent the employees in a strong and united manner in this difficult phase.
How does it go on for you personally?
Gebhardt: it hurts me that I can no longer help shape these challenges with my experience, my knowledge and my strength. I have not yet decided how to proceed. I will certainly continue to take a job with IG metall somewhere in the french region. I drive now first bicycle and let that sacken.
The interview was conducted by sebastian schanz