Expatica news

Unions, Siemens on collision course

2 April 2004

MUNICH – German electronics giant Siemens has found itself on a collision course with  the nation’s powerful unions after the Munich-based company said that it had concrete plans to shift jobs out of the nation.

The Siemens’ announcement has added to an already charged political debate in Germany in the run-up to the European Union’s enlargement in Central Europe about jobs being moved out of the nation to low-cost high-skilled countries.

With the German economy having stagnated over the last three years, Siemens has joined other big companies in the country by launching a massive cost-cutting drive in a bid to boost earnings.

About 5,000 jobs are believed to be under review at Siemens with about half of those jobs possibly to be moved to Hungary.

Siemens has already announced job cuts totalling about 35,000 with the latest batch of job reductions to come from the company’s telecommunications and power transmission divisions.

IG Metall, Germany’s biggest industrial union, has lashed out at the Siemens’ move with  the union’s chief in Bavaria, Werner Neugebauer, describing the company’s plans as a provocation threatening German-wide industrial action against the group.

Neugebauer went on to say that the sheer size of Siemens meant that the group had a special social responsibility for shoring up workplaces in Germanz.

Siemens’ chief Heinrich von Pierer have consistently complained about how the high cost of labour in Germany was damaging the country’s international competitiveness,

With this in mind, the company has indicated that the group’s workers agree to return to a 40-hour week and that they agree to cutbacks in Christmas and holiday bonuses.

According to a survey drawn up by Germany’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, every fourth Germany firm is planning to shift production to low-cost countries in the next three years.
Germany’s metal industry association estimates that up to 2015 about 60,000 jobs could be moved out to other countries.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: German news