View Full Version : Yep...Socialism DOES work!!

05-05-2003, 11:13 AM
Work to help out your fellow man...just do long as you don't have to put in more than 35 hours a week to do it!!

German Strikers Seek Shorter Work Week
Updated: Monday, May. 5, 2003 - 10:33 AM EST.

AP Business Writer

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - Germany's biggest industrial union staged walkouts Monday to press for a shorter work week in the country's formerly communist east, targeting three Volkswagen plants and an Opel factory as it pushed a demand employers say they cannot afford.

Factory workers in the economically depressed east get the same weekly base pay as their counterparts, but must work longer hours _ 38 hours a week instead of 35 _ because firms say they can't afford the same labor costs as in the more affluent west.

IG Metall, which represents 1.7 million workers in manufacturing and electronics firms across Germany, says it's time to start leveling the difference 13 years after Germany reunification. The renewed push comes before talks with employer delegates are tentatively set for next week.

The stoppages hit Volkswagen plants in Chemnitz, Dresden and Zwickau _ symbols of the region's post-communist economy.

Also, about 250 workers at an Alcatel SEL electronics plant in Arnstadt walked off their jobs for an hour, following an hourlong stoppage by 350 workers on the overnight shift at automaker Opel, a General Motors unit, in Eisenach.

IG Metall contends that cutting hours would create up to 15,000 more jobs in the region by spreading available work among more employees.

But Martin Kannegiesser, head of the employer association Gesamtmetall, said in a newspaper interview published Monday that the longer week was needed because labor was a third less productive in the east.

Shortening the week would make more companies drop out of the nationwide collective bargaining system and seek to strike deals on their own with their workers, Kannegiesser told Die Welt newspaper.

Some firms in the east already undercut minimum wages imposed by industrywide agreements, and workers don't protest because they fear their companies could go under if forced to pay full wages.

The head of the employers' association in the eastern state of Saxony argued that the 38-hour week is key to making the east an attractive place to invest.

"If we lose this advantage, there will no reason for anyone to start a company here," Bodo Finger said.

Unemployment in east Germany is 19.6 percent _ twice the level in the west _ and many young people have left the region to seek jobs elsewhere.

(Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)