Forget Mediation

What these guys need is some meditation. Or maybe some heavy medication.

Strikes

Don’t worry. These GDL train drivers will be back for strike number ten before too long. And not that anybody cares anymore or anything, but the post office employees and kindergarden cop-people are still on strike here, too.

Remember when Germany used to be a “first world” country?

The latest strike is the ninth walkout in just 11 months and follows a five-day train strike earlier in May, which was the longest in Deutsche Bahn’s 21-year history.

Do They Strike This Much In Greece?

European travelers have contended for weeks with the possibility that Greece’s dwindling finances might lead to empty ATMs. They should have concerned themselves instead with Germany.

ATM

While cash machines in Athens are still operating without any trouble, striking couriers in Berlin this week stopped filling ATMs, leading to a crunch for those trying to make withdrawals. And the open-ended labor dispute with a local security company means there’s no end in sight.

Berlin’s strike is the latest in a series of walkouts that have riled a nation more accustomed to mocking the labor strife which has so often beset neighboring France. A strike by train drivers that began Tuesday is paralyzing travel and clogging highways throughout Germany. That action follows a March walkout by pilots at Deutsche Lufthansa AG that led to flight cancellations for 220,000 people.

More Strikes Like These Please

“Amazon is being striked – and nobody is noticing it.”

Strikes

Amazon employees (in Germany) have already been on strike for an entire week. The union Verdi is looking to disrupt the delivery of Christmas packages but our user survey (Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung) indicates that it isn’t having any luck.

This survey indicates that 86% of Amazon packages have come on time – the other mail-order companies only managed 73% of the time.

Von dem Streik bekommen die weitaus meisten Kunden nichts mit. Laut Umfrage ist Amazon sogar jetzt noch pünktlicher als die anderen Versandhändler. 86 Prozent der Amazon-Pakete aus unserer Umfrage sind pünktlich angekommen, von den anderen Versandhändlern waren es nur 73 Prozent.

Günter Wallraff Foaming Around The Mouth Again

Still bitter about having lost his undercover job as a package deliverer I guess (he wasn’t used to actually having to work for a living) undercover undercover-journalist Günter “Undercover” Wallraff couldn’t help but have yet another fit about Amazon & Co. on German television last night.

Gunter Wallraff

Good timing or something. It’s strike season in Germany again (still?), as you know. Merry Christmas, Verdi!

But at least he didn’t just stop with Amazon, for once. Wallraff is also very, very angry at German consumers themselves for not purchasing their products where he wants them to (anywhere else but Amazon). Geez, he’s saying. It’s like if you just let people do whatever they want to do they’ll end up doing whatever it is they want to do. And where would that lead us to? That’s right, to where we are now.

His costumes really do rock, though. The one he was wearing last night (see above) was a little scary, though.

Wallraff kritisierte auch die Verbraucher: „Wir selber zerstören eigentlich gewachsene Struktur und wundern uns, irgendwann, dass das Leben so kalt und unpersönlich und trostlos geworden ist und Innenstädte veröden.“

Germans Hate Monopolies

Unless they are labor monopolies, of course. They’re always showing Verständnis (understanding) for strikes. And this despite the fact that only about a fifth of employees in Germany are union members.

Strike

It might be a bit different this time, however. The latest hostage-taking of millions of German travelers over the weekend (a weekend in which there are more travelers than usual due to school breaks in most German Länder) during a 50+ hour strike by the GDL train drivers’ union is finally starting to piss people off here.

It’s becoming increasing clear that the union’s boss Claus Weselsky, is suffering from “delusions of omnipotence” and that his thirst for power has less to do with the interests of the train drivers then he would like us to believe. And the passengers? What passengers?

By the way, unlike labor monopolies, Germans don’t generally like leaders with “delusions of omnipotence” anymore.

Es ist erstaunlich, dass sich die Lokführer auf dieses Spiel einlassen. Denn Weselsky ist gerade dabei, seine eigene Klientel durch den Dreck zu ziehen. Für die Erschließung neuer Kompetenzfelder lässt er es zu, dass ganz Deutschland aufschreit: Stoppt die Lokführer! Dabei geht es hier gar nicht um die Lokführer. Die werden von der GDL bestens und uneingeschränkt vertreten, selbst wenn sie bei der Konkurrenz organisiert sind.

Because They Can

Train drivers’ union GDL called for the next senseless nationwide strike starting tonight. But all they’re really doing here is showing the other train drivers’ unions out there (there are three, I think) who they think is the baddest union what’s in charge. The main thing is that hostages will be taken.

Strike

Someone once said: “If unions raise wage rates in a particular occupation or industry, they necessarily make the amount of employment available in the occupation or industry less than it otherwise would be – just as any higher price cuts down the amount purchased. The effect is an increased number of persons seeking other jobs, which forces down wages in other occupations.”

I know that this applies to a lesser degree for train drivers but that’s just what you’ve got here in Germany, on a broad scale. The overpaid on the inside and the underpaid on the out. On the down and out? And yet everyone here continues to show “understanding” for strikes like this.

Es ist nicht etwa so, dass die Lokführer mehr Geld fordern und die Bahn ihnen das verweigert. Die Reisenden zeigen Verständnis für einen Streik, den sie nicht einmal ansatzweise durchdrungen haben. “Der GDL-Führung geht es aber darum, das Terrain von Konkurrenzgewerkschaften erobern zu wollen. Dafür nimmt sie Schaden für Kunden, Mitarbeiter und Unternehmen in Kauf.“

Special Interests At Their Best

How many people do you need to shut down train and air traffic in a highly industrialized/globalized and totally efficient country like Germany?

Strike

A couple hundred locomotive engineers and a couple dozen airline pilots. And two unions, of course.

“As well as demanding a 10 percent salary increase, the union is demanding the reinstatement of a benefit that enabled pilots to retire early at 60 on partial pay. Lufthansa pilots can currently take paid early retirement from the age of 55, however the airline wants all fit pilots to keep flying until 65.”

Best Paid Pilots In The World Need More Money

And more early retirement.

Strike

Lufthansa has now been grounded by a three-day pilot strike.

Lufthansa pilots belong to the best paid pilots in the world. At some American airlines the pilots only earn a fraction of what they get, an international comparison shows.

Die Piloten der Lufthansa gehören zu den bestbezahlten Flugkapitänen weltweit. Bei einigen amerikanischen Fluglinien wird nur ein Bruchteil dessen verdient, wie ein internationaler Vergleich zeigt.

“We’ll first see out the strike and then we’ll think about talks.”

PS: The belief that labor unions can substantially raise real wages over the long run and for the whole working population is one of the great delusions of the present age. This delusion is mainly the result of failure to recognize that wages are basically determined by labor productivity

Bah Humbug!

Hundreds of Amazon.com Inc workers in Germany went on strike on Monday, just as pre-Christmas sales were set to peak, in a dispute over pay and conditions that has raged for months…

Amazon

The Verdi union said up to 700 workers joined the strike in Amazon’s logistic center in Bad Hersfeld, plus 500 to 600 in Leipzig. For the first time, the union also called a strike in Graben, where Verdi said 600 workers took part.

Now that’s what I call having the Christmas spirit. Just replace the Scrooge part below with Ver.di.

Fred: Merry Christmas, Uncle Scrooge!
Scrooge: What’s so merry about it? I’ll tell you what Christmas is. It’s just another work day, and any jackanape who thinks else should be boiled in his own pudding!
Cratchit: But sir, Christmas is a time for giving… a time to be with one’s family.
Scrooge: I say, Bah humbug!
Fred: I don’t care! I say, Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas!
Cratchit: [clapping] Well said, Master Fred!
Scrooge: Cratchit, what are you doing?
Cratchit: [stops clapping] I was just trying to keep my hands warm, sir.

Amazon has recently announced it would build three new logistics centers in Poland and two in the Czech Republic, prompting speculation that it could seek to shift work across the border from strike-hit centers in Germany.

Clever German Union Outsmarts Evil American Online Retailer

In a move that will clearly bring Amazon to its negotiating knees, German union Ver.di is threatening to strike the evil American online retailer’s logistic operations in Germany during the Christmas season itself should said evil retailer not increase wages for its German employees real pronto-like.

Amazon

Shocked spokesmen at Amazon were clearly speechless here, prefering to announce that their company will now be opening three big new logistic centers just down the road in Poland in the very near future instead.

„Ich würde mich an Amazons Stelle nicht darauf verlassen, vor Weihnachten alle Kundenversprechen einhalten zu können.“