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Business Briefs

TUI annouces a new bargain basement holiday line, East German metal workers go out on strike, German unemployment figures for April show a slight improvement and DaimlerChrysler heads east.


TUI says its new "Discount Travel" line won't affect their core business

TUI launches New Discount Line

Europe's biggest tour operator, TUI, upped the ante in the holiday pricing war today, announcing a new bargain basement line, "Discount Travel". From this Friday, travelers will be able to book unsold packages from TUI's core business, TUI Germany, at heavily discounted prices. In some cases, holidays will be sold at a loss in a bid to fill empty hotel rooms and airplane seats. Many of 23 holiday spots on offer in the TUI bargain basement catalogue are in the Mediterranean. But TUI stressed that the discount line would not detract from their core business. The German markets reacted favorably to the news: TUI shares were up six percent on Monday at €15.37 ($17.26) a share.

Metal Workers on Limited Strike

East German metal workers made good on their threat to hold reduced strikes today, as 350 workers at the Eisenach Opel plant in the eastern German state of Thuringia downed tools for an hour this morning. The strikes are intended to put pressure on the German metal industry to stagger the implementation of a shortened 35-hour working week. The move, which is intended to bring working hours in line with those in the west, will affect 310,000 East German metal workers who currently work 38 hours per week. Further strike action is planned.

German Unemployment Reaches New April High

The number of jobless in Germany topped 4.5 million in April -- the highest unemployment figures for the month since reunification in 1990. Around 4.52 million Germans were without a job last month, according to German Sunday paper, Welt am Sonntag. This was 100,000 less than in March, when unemployment hit 4.61 million. Official government figures will be released on Wednesday.

DaimlerChrysler Heads East

DaimlerChrysler is in talks with China to build three Mercedes Benz plants there, according to a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The German-American car maker will work with the Beijing Automotive Industry and build Mercedes Benz vehicles for both commercial and private use in separate plants. The concern also plans to build Mercedes transporter vehicles in conjunction with Southeast Fujian Motors. According to the reports, the initial contracts will be signed later this year.