This record was the result of a struggle that lasted nearly three years. Female employees of the Heinze photo laboratory in Gelsenkirchen discovered that they were earning 1.50 German marks less per hour than their male colleagues. As a result, 29 women decided to sue their employer, first at the local court in Gelsenkirchen, then the higher regional court in Hamm and finally the Federal Labour Court in Kassel. There, they won their case in September 1981.
This great success would not have been possible without the Printing and Paper Union. They vigorously supported the workers’ claim and organised protest rallies. Thousands took to the streets of Kassel a few days before the decisive verdict was to be announced.
The fighting spirit of the Heinze ladies is captured in the record. Over the course of the court proceedings lasting years, various songs were written to encourage the photo lab workers. Marianne Kaiser, union member and committed supporter of the Heinze women wrote the following lyrics during the bus ride to Kassel for the big protest rally in early September 1981, which translated read: “Equal wages for women and men / That’s why we’re in Kassel. / We’re taking care of the problem / That’s why we’re in Kassel.” You can listen to the original song at the audio station.
With this record, the union had gone to great efforts to preserve the memory of the campaign. Many hoped that the struggle of the Heinze women would set a precedent. Nevertheless, forty years later, the problem of unequal pay has yet to be fully resolved.