Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Quick hit #6

A footnote to the preceding. They say misery loves company, but I never bought that bull. From the International Herald Tribune, July 24:
The movement toward longer workweeks for European employees gained further traction on Friday as DaimlerChrysler workers at Mercedes factories in Germany agreed to smaller pay raises and increased hours after the carmaker threatened to move 6,000 jobs out of Southern Germany.

Emboldened by the reduced power of labor unions amid rising unemployment, some of the biggest European companies are asking employees to work longer to save their jobs.

The DaimlerChrysler agreement ... follows an acceptance by 4,000 Siemens employees last month to extend their workweek. Thomas Cook, Europe's second-biggest tourism company, said Thursday that 2,000 employees had agreed to work longer hours. And in France ... workers at a Robert Bosch car parts factory voted on Monday to work an additional hour a week in an effort to save jobs, making them the first employees to vote to abandon the 35-hour week.

"These company-specific agreements are helping to improve cost competitiveness, making companies more productive - that helps investment and, eventually, employment," said Elga Bartsch, an economist at Morgan Stanley in Frankfurt. "We're going to see more of this."
My gosh, they even tell the same lies.

Footnote to the footnote: Just in case you wondered which side of the divide you're on.
Chancellor Gerhard Schröder greeted the carmaker's deal with the IG Metall union as "a victory for common sense" that would strengthen Germany's economic recovery and set a precedent for coming talks at Volkswagen....

"I am certain that after DaimlerChrysler the negotiations at Volkswagen over cost cuts and job security will lead to a successful agreement," Schröder, who is on vacation in Italy, said in a statement.
Schröder's definition of "success" is curious but quite clear.

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