After lengthy negotiations between the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, the latter approved the labor market reform law Hartz IV on July 9, 2004. Representatives of the East German Länder [federal states] either opposed the law or abstained from voting. The law prescribed the merging of unemployment benefits and social welfare assistance effective January 1, 2005. To protest the Hartz IV legislation, "Monday demonstrations" reminiscent of those in the fall of 1989 were held in East German cities between August and October 2004. On Monday, August 9, 2004, more than 20,000 people protested nationwide. A demonstration also took place that day in Jena (see photo). It was organized by the PDS, the labor unions, and the Jena Coalition against Cuts in Social Services. About 500 people came out to protest the Hartz IV legislation. Their signs read: "Hartz IV is poverty prescribed by law. Away with it."

PDS Slogans against Hartz IV Reforms in Jena (August 9, 2004)

  • Jan-Peter Kasper


Source: picture-alliance / ZB (c) ZB-Fotoreport