Deutsche Bank faces growing political storm

9th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

9 February 2005, BERLIN - The anger created by Deutsche Bank AG's announcement of a new round of mass lay offs has deepened with a growing chorus of criticism from leading German political figures. Following the call by Andrea Ypsilanti, the Social Democrat Party (SPD) leader in the state of Hessen, for a boycott of Germany's biggest bank over the plans to slash its workforce despite reporting a large jump in earnings, Green party chief Reinhard Buetikofer lashed out at Deutsche Bank boss Josef Ackermann o

9 February 2005

BERLIN - The anger created by Deutsche Bank AG's announcement of a new round of mass lay offs has deepened with a growing chorus of criticism from leading German political figures.

Following the call by Andrea Ypsilanti, the Social Democrat Party (SPD) leader in the state of Hessen, for a boycott of Germany's biggest bank over the plans to slash its workforce despite reporting a large jump in earnings, Green party chief Reinhard Buetikofer lashed out at Deutsche Bank boss Josef Ackermann over the new job cuts.

"I see an irresponsible Deutsche Bank chief," Buetikofer told German public television ARD on Wednesday.

The Greens are the junior member of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's SPD-led coalition government.

Buetikofer told ARD that an enterprise like Deutsche Bank cannot declare the maximisation of profit as its only goal, but must also function and participate in a community. "I don't recognise that here," he said.

In the wake of the criticism of the Deutsche Bank move by Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Wolfgang Clement, Ypsilanti called on the bank's customers to think about switching their accounts to a public savings bank or a co-operative bank.

Deutsche Bank supervisory board chief Rolf Breuer expressed surprise on Tuesday about the criticism, saying that the planned job cuts had been known for several months.

But the attacks on Deutsche Bank's decision to lay off 6,400 workers (of that 1,920 are planned for the bank's domestic German market) comes as Germany gears up for two crucial state elections with voters due to go to the polls in the north German state of Schleswig-Holstein on 20 February and North Rhine Westphalia in May.

The political fallout from the Deutsche Bank move also follows the release last week of new jobless data showing the numbers out of work in Germany surging to a record high of more than five million in January with the government warning of another big jump in February largely as a result of benefits reforms introduced by Berlin.

Underscoring the fresh political tensions unleashed by the leap in the unemployment numbers, a weekly opinion poll released Wednesday showed Schroeder's SPD and the Greens losing ground with support for the conservative-led opposition picking up.

The poll conducted by Berlin-based Forsa for Stern magazine and RTL television showed support for the SPD falling one percentage point to 34 percent with the Greens dropping one point to 10 percent.

At the same time, however, support for the opposition Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian associate party, the Christian Social Union, rose 3 points to 40 percent.

DPA

Subject: German news

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