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.

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.”

What This Town Needs Is A Maximum Security Zoo

Not only do prison inmates in Berlin get to unionize so they can push for a minimum wage and a pension plan, they also get to go on regular visits to Berlin’s famous Zoo called the , uh, Berliner Zoo.

Zoo

But some of these creepy dirtballs ruthlessly take advantage of their prison’s warm-hearted generosity by escaping when the two unsuspecting and unarmed guards accompanying them are caught off guard. While looking at the animals and stuff. In the zoo. Just like somebody called Hassan C. did yesterday. Man oh man. Some of these unionized prison inmates can be real jerks when they’re not in prison.

Wie konnte ihm die Flucht gelingen?

“How Realistic Is An Anti-Stress Law?”

Well, in the real world… Not at all. But here in Germany…

Stress

Employment minister Andrea Nahles (SPD) wants to review the situation to see if an anti-stress law can be introduced. The number of stress-related illnesses continues to rise in this country.

If this wasn’t so funny it would be serious. The problem is that nobody who reads this here is laughing. That makes this much more serious than I thought. Which isn’t funny.

Die SPD und Gewerkschaften fordern erneut eine gesetzliche Anti-Stress-Verordnung. Kann gesetzlich geregelt werden, dass der Chef seine Mitarbeiter nicht anrufen darf?

Berlin Convicts Unionize For Minimum Security

I mean for minimum wage. I kid you not. Here’s another one of those “I don’t make this stuff up, people” stories.

Union

Only in Berlin can prison inmates set up the the world’s first union for prisoners so they can campaign to get a minimum wage and a pension plan for convicts.

Hey guys, you forgot about the early retirement part. Hardy, har, har.

And what are they going to call your pension plan, anyways? Social High Security? Yuckity yuck.

Häftlinge der Justizvollzugsanstalt fordern einen Mindestlohn für Inhaftierte und eine Rentenversicherung

We Don’t Need No Special Treatment

We don’t need no fraud control
No dark sarcasm at the workplace
Boss man, leave them bums alone

Workers

We just want our union members to be able to turn up late for work after watching Germany World Cup games that begin after 10pm, unions say. That’s all.

“It would a noble move by employers if they showed a bit of flexibility during the World Cup.”