Germany moves to limit union powers after wave of strikes –

This is a brilliant, must-read article from the FT. Check it out!

via Germany moves to limit union powers after wave of strikes –

It looks like Germany has caught the UK’s disease of not being able to stand up to powerful trade unions.

I’m old enough to remember the seventies when the union brought the UK to its knees. When I traveled to Germany colleagues made jokes about UK productivity and strikes.

Another time, I was sitting next to a Swiss lady on a plane and by way of introduction said that I was English. She said, ‘You poor thing! How can you live with all those strikes?’

Now it’s Germany’s turn. Germany will need to start looking to domestic austerity to retain competitiveness. Germany’s economy is desperately unbalanced and dependent on exports, with other sectors weak and uncompetitive, like services for example.

Meanwhile, the UK should not get too excited. Productivity is chronically weak. Also there’s an unhealthy dependence on financial services.

Let me ask an open question.

Is Thatcherism coming to Germany soon?


One response

  1. To answer Dr Alf’s question directly,the answer is no.

    The Germans may have admired Margaret Thatcher in her day but they would not want the disruption that crushing the biggest union in order to get all the others to be “broken to the fist” would necessitate.

    What I suspect they will do is come to a fudge whereby trades union legislation will be tightened and more German operations will be off-shored but as directly controlled outposts rather than US style BPO.

    The defeat and emasculation of the National Union of Mineworkers using the police often supported by soldiers out of uniform but put into police uniforms without numbers was effective but brutal medicine for a group of workers who used to make the lights go out for a decade of hard winters.
    The Germans for historical reasons will not want those sorts of images to be shown to the world and will deal with matters differently.

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