The Economist celebrating defeat of East German workers

Johannes Schneider Johannes.Schneider at
Tue Jul 1 02:32:48 MDT 2003

>From the Economist:

"Schröder tries to get a grip
Most economists agree that Germany urgently needs to tackle its more
deep-seated economic problems-by curbing expenditure on unemployment and
welfare. Mr Schröder has, belatedly, come to recognise this. After doing
nothing during his first term of office, he has, since his re-election in
September last year, embarked on a long-term programme of reform. Although
few believe the chancellor's plans are yet ambitious enough, he has had some
success in fighting opposition to them from within his own Social Democratic
Party (SPD). The trades unions, traditionally the core suppporters of the
SPD, have in some cases been persuaded to lend their support to Mr Schröder'
s reforms, or at least not to oppose them vigorously.

The chancellor's task might be made easier by the collapse, on June 28th, of
a metalworkers' strike in eastern Germany. IG Metall, the world's biggest
engineering union, had been campaigning for a reduction in the working week,
from 38 to 35 hours. It had rejected attempts by the employers, some of
Germany's biggest car makers, to compromise. But the strike was hugely
unpopular both with politicians and the German public and the union
eventually admitted defeat-its first since 1954."


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