VDA President Müller warns of the Corona production stop

Düsseldorf The automotive industry warns against stopping the production of new vehicles in order to reduce the number of corona infections. “So far, there are no sources of infection among automotive suppliers and manufacturers, and the highest and most comprehensive hygiene standards,” said Hildegard Müller, President of the Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), the Handelsblatt. If automobile production were to stand still in Germany, production and supply chains would be interrupted not only in Europe, but even worldwide.

The new BDI President Siegfried Russwurm had previously clearly rejected calls for a complete lockdown for the economy. “In 2021 too, industry will be the engine that will drive the economy and prosperity of our country,” said Russwurm. “It is all the more important to keep the industry going, despite the aggravated situation, despite extensive mobility restrictions and large-scale school closings,” emphasized the new head of the industry association.

Economists also point out that even the toughest lockdown steps with factory closings like in France, Italy and Spain could only contain the pandemic for a short time. At the same time, the consequences for industrial production in these countries were devastating, which weakened the entire European economy.

From the perspective of the automotive industry, the economic problems would increase dramatically if production were to be halted. “The car production makes an important contribution to securing the income of many people and is therefore also a prerequisite for the financing of the state’s tasks, especially with regard to the repayment of the immense national debt, which is again significantly increased by the consequences of the corona pandemic have increased ”, added Müller.

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Car manufacturers and suppliers are preparing for more difficult weeks. “The crisis is not over for the automotive industry,” said the VDA President. Small and medium-sized suppliers in particular are hit by the consequences of the corona pandemic and the transformation of the automotive industry with electrification and digitization. “That is the greatest challenge in its history,” added Müller.

“No all-clear” for the liquidity of companies

For a number of companies, the liquidity situation is still tight, “there is no all-clear”. In the year that has just begun, the risk of insolvency is not off the table, and nothing has changed in the past few weeks. If state aid expires this year, the situation for suppliers could even worsen.

The VDA, Germany’s most important industrial association, represents manufacturers and suppliers alike. But the economic consequences of the pandemic are completely different for companies. The car manufacturers are multinational corporations that are compensating for the slump in Europe, for example, with strong business in China.

Many medium-sized suppliers, on the other hand, are focused on Germany and Europe – without corresponding compensation. They are particularly suffering from the fact that German car production slumped last year. According to the VDA, the minus is 25 percent.

VDA President Müller appealed to politicians to actually start funding programs for the automotive industry that have already been decided. Last year, the federal government made available two billion euros to promote future investments in the vehicle industry. Small and medium-sized suppliers in particular should benefit from this.

Müller complained that the promised funds were still not ready. “The program must now be implemented without delay,” demanded the VDA President.

Difficult first quarter

The automotive industry is preparing for a difficult first quarter due to the pandemic. The VDA is betting that the vaccination campaign will pick up speed and that the pandemic will be limited. “We hope for the second half of the year at the latest,” said Müller, “and we hope that the entire country will then breathe a sigh of relief.”

It is possible that there will then even be a boom in terms of car demand, because buying mood and consumer behavior can develop unhindered again. There is already a lot of interest in cars because, unlike public transport, there is no risk of infection in one’s own car.

VDA President Müller noticed an improvement in the vehicle registration offices, which had closed completely last spring. In the second lockdown, new registrations are possible, there are also first advances in digital forms of authorization. “The crisis has revealed how much Germany still has to catch up in digital service.”

According to expert assessments, the current second lockdown has not had as dramatic an impact on the automotive industry as the standstill last spring. “The sales organizations are better prepared,” said Daniel Schwarz, automotive analyst at the investment bank Stifel Europe.

The VDA does not have a solution for the current supply problems with electronic chips. Ford, Volkswagen and Daimler have already started short-time working in various German plants because there are no longer enough electronic components for the cars. “This is a problem that affects the automotive industry and electronics suppliers. We are working intensively on a global solution, ”said the VDA President. The association is also in contact with the federal government.

More: Lack of chips slows down car manufacturers: Daimler continues to throttle production, short-time work at VW


Lockdown year 20/21: Save jobs with sales replacement, increase and extend the aid framework now | ÖHV

ÖHV President Reitterer calls on the federal, state and EU governments to focus fully on employee-intensive service industries

Vienna (OTS) “Much has indicated in the past days and weeks: There is no realistic alternative to extending the lockdown. Nevertheless, it is a painful blow for employers, employees and guests, “says ÖHV President Michaela Reitterer: The lockdown at least until well into February amounts to the loss of annual sales for many companies:” City and congress tourism then actually stops The year broke, and winter and wellness tourism generated the majority of the annual turnover in these weeks “, demands Reitterer to put the full economic policy focus on employee-intensive service branches:” The sector is hit first, hardest and longest, so it needs more as before.”

Winter tourism needs revenue replacement and support beyond lockdown phases

Fixed cost reimbursement for the duration of the pandemic is not enough: “When life starts again after Easter, tourism will end. Our employers in the ski regions then lack the financial cushion that they normally generate in winter. You have to think about that, ”says Reitterer, calling for revenue replacement and assistance beyond the lockdown phases.

Urgent appeal to EU: increase and extend aid

Another problem can only be solved at EU level: “More and more large employers are coming up against the upper limit of the temporary aid framework, which means millions of jobs in the EU. This has been known for a long time and everyone is watching “, Reitterer calls on the EU Commission to finally get going:” Since the temporary framework was designed and decided, we have learned a lot about the pandemic and its economic effects. That has to flow quickly into a well thought-out increase in the ceilings and extension of the aid programs. “

More press releases and images at www.oehv.at/presse

Inquiries & contact:

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A rate hike is not to be expected

Jerome Powell

For the time being, the US Federal Reserve Board does not see any increased risk of inflation in the US.

(Photo: Reuters)

Washington According to US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, full employment is far from being expected in the USA even after the end of the corona crisis. Even if there should be an upswing in the second half of the year, there is still “a long way to go” to this goal, he said in an online conversation at Princeton University on Thursday.

Against this background, interest rate hikes are also not expected “in the foreseeable future”. Turning away from the very stimulating monetary policy is out of the question until the job is “well and really” done.

Powell’s affirmation of the Fed’s ultra-loose long-term line weighed on the dollar. In return, the euro rose to $ 1.2171. At the meeting in mid-December, the US Federal Reserve already signaled that it would stick to its interest rate level near zero beyond the Corona crisis.

The number of initial jobless claims in the US has skyrocketed recently. And the unemployment rate was last at 6.7 percent. In their latest projections from December, the US monetary authorities expected an average rate of 5.0 percent for 2021. In 2022 it should then fall to 4.2 percent.

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More than 22 million jobs were lost in the United States during the crisis, of which only around half have so far been won.

At the same time, Powell does not see any increased risk of inflation in the USA for the time being. It could be that, in the short term, when the pandemic subsided, consumers plunged into a kind of buying frenzy. But even if this one-off effect leads to higher prices, this will probably not lead to an increase in the underlying inflationary pressures.

More: Higher US bond yields are making investors nervous.


Hubertus Heil on the home office debate: “A very clear message”

Hubertus Heil

The Federal Minister of Labor says: “I am serious about proposals.”

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) has urgently appealed to employers to allow home offices wherever possible. “This is not just any appeal, but a very clear message from the federal and state governments to the economy,” said the SPD politician in an interview with the Handelsblatt.

Many companies acted responsibly. But there are also those who arbitrarily refused to work on the move. “That is irresponsible,” said Heil.

The request to work from home if possible is also directed at the employees – even if he understands that many would like to see their colleagues again. But it is a question of responsibility, and the employees are also deceived.

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Google and Alphabet employees form union


Out of displeasure about the lack of a say in corporate policy and ethical issues, employees have decided to found a union.

(Photo: AFP)

San Francisco, Düsseldorf Employees from Google and its parent company Alphabet want to organize in a union. “We are teaming up – temporary workers, suppliers, contractors and full-time employees – to create a unified employee voice,” announced Parul Koul and Chewy Shaw, two leading members of the movement, in a guest article in the New York Times on Monday.

The Alphabet Workers Union represents over 200 employees in the United States, the organization announced later on Monday (local time). The alliance wants to work for fair pay and working conditions. The members also demand that the group, which has been criticized for years, change its structure.

The move follows a conflict between the US Internet company and the workforce that has been growing for years. The company has written “Don’t be evil” – don’t be angry – in the code of conduct. And it has long been considered a paradise for employees. Free restaurants, massage parlors, libraries, and laundries make life outside of the Google campus almost redundant.

Opposition from employees was expressly encouraged. In a Friday general meeting called TGIF (“Thank God It’s Friday”), Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin answered questions from their employees for a long time.

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But employees are increasingly criticizing that their opinion is not heard when it comes to equality for people of different genders and origins, company policy decisions and ethical issues in the development of artificial intelligence. Several employees who raised public objections are said to have been dismissed – most recently the researcher Timnit Gebru, who wanted to critically examine AI models based on large data sets in a publication.

The employee representatives want to work for fair wages and fair working conditions, explained Koul and Shaw in their contribution. “We came to Alphabet because we wanted to build technologies that would make the world a better place. But the company management has repeatedly placed profit above our concerns, ”they write.

There is hardly any transparency culture in the Valley

Group employees had previously made their displeasure public. For example, with a strike in November 2018, in which, according to the organizers, around 20,000 employees from Google and other alphabet companies took part in various locations around the world, for example Waymo, manufacturer of autonomous vehicles, and the medical research company Verily. At the center of the criticism were millions of dollars in payments to two executives accused of sexual harassment of employees.

For far too long the concerns of thousands of employees at Google and Alphabet have been brushed aside by executives, write Koul and Shaw. “Today we are building on years of organizational efforts at Google to create a formal structure for the workers.”

226 workers have already joined the movement and registered with the Communications Workers of America union. This is the first step on the way to our own recognized union under US law. The conflict between managers and their employees simmers in many Silicon Valley tech companies. Pinterest recently reached an out-of-court settlement with a former top manager who founder Ben Silberman accused of discriminating against women in the social network, which is mainly used by women.

Pinterest as another example

Most companies in the liberal Silicon Valley try to keep conflicts with employees out of the public eye. Brian Armstrong, the head of the Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange, went on the offensive in September. In a blog post, the founder of the company, valued by investors with eight billion dollars, prescribed a “company first” rule for his employees.

Anyone who wants to discuss political issues such as the discrimination against blacks in the US in the workplace should rather resign. “We should focus on what unites us. Not on what divides us, ”wrote Armstrong. At the beginning of October, the company, which is to plan an IPO this year, reported that 60 of its approximately 1200 employees had accepted a severance offer.

However, the “New York Times” revealed a few days ago that black employees and women earn significantly less than white, male employees in comparable positions. Complaints by black employees about unfair working conditions have been regularly ignored, which the company denies.

More: How Google works against employee rights in Switzerland


Hessen has the highest proportion of short-time workers

Short-time work

Hessian workers are particularly hard hit by the cuts.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin According to a study by the Ifo Institute, Hessen is the state with the largest proportion of short-time workers. In December, around 7.4 percent of the employees subject to social security contributions or 196,000 people were on short-time work, as the Munich researchers announced on Monday. This is followed by Baden-Württemberg with 6.7 percent or 321,000 people, and Lower Saxony and Bremen with 6.6 percent or a total of 223,000.

“As before, countries with a higher proportion of industry are somewhat more affected by short-time working,” said Ifo labor market expert Sebastian Link. “Due to the recovery in the industry, these differences have become much smaller in the last few months.”

The industry had recently landed more orders for seven months in a row and increased exports and production. Companies are currently benefiting primarily from the economic recovery in China: According to experts, the People’s Republic was the only large country to achieve economic growth last year despite the corona pandemic. In the Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg region, the proportion of short-time workers is 6.5 percent or 132,000 people.

This is followed by Saxony with 6.2 percent or 101,000 and Bavaria with 5.9 percent and 337,000 employees. Then come North Rhine-Westphalia with 4.9 percent or 348,000 people, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland with 4.8 percent and 89,000 people, the Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania region with 4.6 percent and 138,000 employees and the Saxony region -Anhalt and Thuringia with 4.1 percent and 66,000 people.

The results are based on reports from around 7,000 companies that were asked about their current use of short-time working in the monthly Ifo business survey in December.

More: The SPD wants to keep companies from bankruptcy longer than previously planned because of the ongoing corona crisis. But the Union is not going along.


In these professions, earnings and employment opportunities are high

Geriatric nurses

High appreciation, relatively low pay.

(Photo: imago / photothek)

Berlin At the beginning of the corona crisis, they received applause from the balconies – the nurse in the intensive care unit, the cashier in the supermarket, the geriatric nurse or the parcel delivery. But increased esteem and social prestige do not necessarily pay off in hard cash.

Only a few members of the above-mentioned professional groups would describe their job as particularly lucrative – perhaps with the exception of the specialist nurse, who after all has an average gross monthly wage of almost 4,000 euros with additional training. The geriatric nurse has a thousand less in her pocket at the end of the month, employees at post and delivery services earn an average of 2623 euros gross, and the cashier comes in last with 2214 euros.

A shortage of skilled workers, which is reflected in very good employment opportunities, is not necessarily a guarantee for high wages, as the example of qualified care for the elderly shows. For every 100 vacancies in the profession, there are currently only twelve unemployed – so providers have a hard time finding staff. But the financial difficulties of the long-term care insurance companies narrow the scope.

And so, geriatric nurses with training earn considerably less than, for example, bank clerks or metalworkers, although these are much less sought after. Relationships like this can be read from an interactive graphic created by the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft (IW) in Cologne.

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Short-time work enhances the statistics (neue-deutschland.de)

Booming during the corona crisis: Amazon online trading, here at the Brieselang location. Elsewhere, workers are on strike.

“Even if the unemployment rate has remained the same, there is no reason to give the all-clear,” says Berlin’s Social Senator Elke Breitenbach (left). On the contrary: the situation on the capital’s labor market remains serious.

Brandenburg’s deputy left-wing party leader Martin Günther warns that jobs will be permanently lost in the wake of the corona pandemic. Under no circumstances should an economic downward spiral develop. “A strategy must now be put on the table for this. One or two large industrial settlements like Tesla as the sole answer are not enough «, Günther is convinced. “If the state picks up money now, this support must be combined with job guarantees.”

On Tuesday, the employment agency published the figures for December. According to this, 202 388 Berliners and 81 421 Brandenburgers were registered as unemployed. In Berlin, the unemployment rate was 10.1 percent, which is the same as in November and 2.4 percentage points higher than a year earlier. In Brandenburg, the unemployment rate rose from 6.0 to 6.1 percent in December. It was 0.6 percentage points higher than a year ago.

“Despite the recent lockdown, the labor market in the region was in a stable state at the end of the year,” concludes Ramona Schröder, the new head of the regional directorate, who took office at the turn of the year, from the figures from her agency. The comparatively low values ​​are due not least to the instrument of short-time working. In Berlin, according to Schröder, 13,000 companies have put 91,000 employees on short-time work. This has been done especially in gastronomy. In relation to the roughly 200,000 unemployed, it is easy to see how much worse things would look without short-time working. In Brandenburg around 35,000 employees are affected by short-time work. According to Ramona Schröder, one billion euros flowed to finance short-time working and thus prevent a higher unemployment rate. The directorate admits that the employment agency cannot reliably say how many mini-jobs were lost during the crisis.

Unemployment rose sharply in April, May and June, and has fallen again since August. How, after the first lockdown in spring 2020, the second since autumn will affect short-time work, “we cannot say today”, Schröder regrets. With a three-month delay, this will only be reflected in the statistics in April.

The hospitality industry, the tourism industry and the service sector have been hard hit by the corona crisis. But in Berlin a lot of people work in communication, information technology, healthcare and education. These areas carry in the crisis. Schröder sees the company in a waiting position. If possible, they do not lay off any staff, but neither do they hire new people. The main victims are migrants and young people who now have bigger problems than usual in finding a job.

The new regional director used to work at the employment office in Berlin-Mitte and then in Potsdam. From this perspective, she has seen both federal states and thinks that in the capital one could focus more on the surrounding area, on the professional opportunities that are opening up there. She mentions the car factory that the US group Tesla is building on the outskirts of Berlin in Grünheide, Brandenburg. Electric vehicles are to be produced there as early as summer 2021. CEO Elon Musk, who speaks of the Gigafactory Berlin on a tour and almost never uses the word Brandenburg in public, demands that applicants tell him or his company what extraordinary things they have done to solve problems. It seems like Musk doesn’t value diplomas, or at least gives them minor importance. Perhaps this is where regional director Schröder hopes that Tesla will offer ten percent of Berlin school leavers who have not graduated a chance.

“The bottom line is that the renewed shutdown of the economy since November has so far been less of a burden on the labor market than feared,” says Alexander Schirp, deputy chief executive of the Berlin-Brandenburg business associations. “We don’t know what’s coming. Possibly the most obvious consequences of the crisis are still ahead of us. “Raising employment in the region back to pre-crisis levels will require” an enormous effort, “predicts Schirp.

Jörg Nolte from the Berlin Chamber of Commerce and Industry warns that “whether the short-time allowance can continue to protect companies from having to lay off employees” is unclear. “The prerequisite is that the company has the necessary liquidity in order to be able to advance the short-time work allowance for the agencies.”


Protect villages, save the climate (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

Protest in the Rhenish lignite mining district (August 30, 2020)

Klima protector of the initiative »No need for coal«Announced on Tuesday:

Activists of the climate justice movement have been preventing the destruction of residential buildings in Lützerath, a village in the Garzweiler II lignite area, since the early hours of the morning. Five people climbed onto a roof to prevent the Lücker company commissioned by RWE from being demolished. More people have gathered in front of the house for a spontaneous rally and thus support the squatters. Although people still live in Lützerath, RWE has been systematically destroying the residential area of ​​the residents since last summer. The L 277 road leading past Lützerath was demolished, and trees and green spaces in the area were cleared. “RWE is actually not allowed to continue dredging here in the next few years, as the courts have not yet decided on the lawsuit of a Lützerath farmer against his expropriation,” says Lisa Neurat, one of the activists. »The intention of RWE is clear: This is about creating facts prematurely. People who defend their homes here should be intimidated. “

RWE is backed by Federal Minister of Economics Altmaier, who kept a report completed in 2019 under lock and key for a year. The report proves that there is no need for energy policy to demolish the six villages. “This deliberate deception is a political scandal that is now finally reducing the so-called coal phase-out law to absurdity. We stand by the side of the residents and demand an immediate stop to all demolition work and forced relocations, «says Lisa Neurat.

We show solidarity with everyone who is resisting lignite mining. “All villages remain” is an alliance of the residents that has protested against the opencast mines in recent years with sit-ins, vigils and demonstrations. Church services organized by the “Let the Church in the Village” initiative have encouraged people, some of whom have been resisting RWE’s destructiveness for decades. “Resistance is manual labor,” says Nicola Sarić. “Because the coal compromise, which will not end open-cast lignite mining until 2038, only serves RWE’s greed for profit, at the expense of people and nature. In view of the worsening climate crisis, which is hitting the people of the global south hardest, coal mining must be stopped here immediately. We fight for the preservation of the villages and the end of fossil energy production «, Nicola Sarić explains the action.

Sabine Zimmermann, labor market policy spokeswoman for the parliamentary group Die Linke, explained the current monthly report of the Federal Employment Agency.

The fact that unemployment and short-time work rose only moderately in December does not mean that the labor market is on a recovery course. The current labor market figures do not yet reflect the consequences of the second lockdown because only information up to December 10th was recorded. Good labor market policy should now provide for the future by strengthening unemployment insurance benefits. But it must not forget those who have been receiving benefits for months.


Corona and labor market: Partial lockdown hardly costs jobs – economy

The measures against rising corona infections are initially hardly causing layoffs in Germany. After politicians had closed restaurants, sports and cultural venues in November, unemployment had nevertheless fallen that month. In December it only increased by 8,000 to 2.71 million people. However, unemployment always rises in winter because construction sites are idle. If you take this seasonal effect out of the equation, there were almost 40,000 fewer job seekers in December in November.

Why are the closings hardly costing any jobs at first? One reason for this is that companies registered short-time work for almost 700,000 employees in December in order to avoid layoffs. “The advertisements for short-time work have increased again, but only to a limited extent,” says Detlef Scheele, chief executive of the Federal Employment Agency.

The renewed partial lockdown has so far not had a serious impact on the labor market. With this positive balance, however, one must take into account that the figures from the Federal Agency only ever record the development up to the middle of the month. It is therefore still unclear what effect the tightening of the lockdown before Christmas, which also affects business and is to be extended until the end of January. The hope is that short-time work and other state aid will prevent layoffs again. This was already achieved in 2020 as a whole, when massive government measures prevented a major disaster on the labor market caused by the pandemic. It is true that the number of job seekers rose by a good 400,000 to almost 2.7 million on an annual average. In other industrialized countries, however, the corona crisis has cost far more jobs.

How things will go on in the German labor market now depends on economic developments. Most economic researchers assume that the German economy will grow by three to five percent again this year after the corona shock. However, Bert Rürup, a long-time business practitioner, believes that the gross domestic product will still shrink in the first three months of 2021. Germany would then be in recession again. “As long as the pandemic has not really been overcome, the recovery will not be straightforward,” said Rürup.

In addition, the partial lockdown is likely to shape large parts of the economy and society, at least until Easter. “Unemployment will rise by more than 100,000 this year,” says Rürup. Because of the federal elections in 2021, politicians will try a lot to slow down or hide the increase. After these measures have expired, unemployment will initially continue to rise this year despite the upswing and will then be just under three million on average for the year. “The crisis would then have made a total of 700,000 people permanently unemployed.”

Less business trips, less shopping in the city center

Timo Wollmershäuser is more optimistic. “The industry has not shown any signs of weakness since autumn,” says the economic chief of the Munich Ifo Institute. “You could almost say it is buzzing there. In addition, the vaccine is now available. I think the German economy will recover quickly.” It is true that an extended closure of shops will put pressure on the economy. Wollmershäuser expects the German economy to grow slightly in the first quarter. For the second quarter he then sees a strong plus of almost three percent.

As for the labor market, short-time work has prevented many layoffs. “Companies that have actually laid off are probably not hiring at first,” said Wollmershäuser. The economist sees a fundamental structural change as a result of the pandemic: fewer business trips, less shopping in the city center. That costs jobs in hotels, airlines and department stores. Unemployment is stagnating this year at 2.7 million and will only decrease to 2.5 million in 2022. That would still be 250,000 more than before the outbreak of the pandemic.