The workers of German largest automobile companies DaimlerChrysler, Audi, Porsche, John Deere (tractor producing companies) went on strike, which became the largest in seven years. BBCRussian informed that up to 50 thousand people would not go to work on Monday.
The strike was initiated by the trade union of metal-working production, IG Metall. This is one of the most influential trade unions in Germany, which incorporates almost 27 million people. The conflict started when the owners of metal-working companies refused to meet the requirement of the trade union to increase the salary for industry’s workers. IG Metall originally insisted on a 6.5% raise, but then the level went down to four percent. However, the owners of those enterprises were ready to agree only for a 3.3% raise, but not at once, only two months after achieving an agreement about it. They offered to pay 190 euro to their workers during the first two months. The trade union did not agree, and it was all over with a strike.
This strike may have rather negative consequences not only for the German economy, but also for the economy of the entire European community. Germany plays one of the leading roles in the EU - both political and economic. Economists calculated that the damage from the first two days of the strike would make up not less than 40 million euro. And this is only a start. The metal production association Gesamtmetall has already threatened with mass firing of their workers, if the strikes gathers steam.
Economic issues may also give up Schroeder’s political ambitions for lost. Germany is to hold Bundestag elections in September, and the opposition will most likely try to use the current strike for bringing down the economic policy of the present government. The German economy has been very unstable recently: a setback today, a slight economic growth tomorrow. The unemployment is growing, not to mention recent conflicts around the increased steel tariffs in the USA. Schroeder’s government has to face a very serious problem at the moment: to convince the public opinion of the country that the economic policy is reasonable and efficient.
The current strike of German workers does not have any direct connection with the economic policy of Schroeder’s government, of course. This is a typical working conflict between workers that would like their salary to be raised, and businessmen that would not like to do so. But as we have already mentioned, this is the largest strike in seven years. Furthermore, it is the first one during Schroeder’s stay in power. This is a very unpleasant signal for him on the threshold of elections.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov