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Strikes halt German car production; Employers association urges cut in insolvency money; and Germany says its tax coffers are swelling.

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Strikes in eastern Germany have hit car makers BMW and VW

Strikes halt car production

Continuing strikes in eastern Germany are threatening to freeze assembly lines at the country's biggest automobile manufacturers. BMW has said it will close its Regensburg and Munich plants indefinitely from Monday and Volkswagon has also threatened to stop production of VW Golfs at its central Wolfsburg plant if deliveries of parts from east German suppliers continued to be held up. The strike action -- called by engineering trade union giant IG Metall three weeks ago is also threatening to affect production at Audi and U.S.-German automobile maker DaimlerChrysler. IG Metall is fighting plans to cut working hours in eastern Germany back to 35 hours a week, to bring working practices in line with those in western Germany. BDA chief: cut insolvency money

The head of the German Employers Association (BDA) has argued that the money wokers can claim when their employers become insolvent should be slashed. Dieter Hundt told German broadsheet Die Welt "the ever higher burden placed on (the state) by insolvency money must be stopped and reduced." Since 1991, the amount of money paid out to employees has increased ten-fold. Insolvency money rose by 30 percent to €1.9 billion in 2002 from €1.4 billion the previous year. Hundt's comments follow last week's news that the number of insolvencies in Germany has now reached record levels. The Federal Statistics Office reported that 24,500 businesses and people began insolvency proceedings between January and March, 27 percent more than during the same period last year.

Eichel says as tax revenue rises

Tax revenues rose for the second month in a row in May. In its monthly report, the German Finance Ministry said revenues gathered in May had risen by 2.6 percent to €32.39 billion, a development German Finance Minister Hans Eichel called "extremely pleasing". The increases are due, the ministry says, to increased revenues from mineral oil tax, tobacco tax, spirits tax and electricity tax. Although the ministry said the latest developments were a positive sign after months of plunging revenue, it cautioned that there was still no economic upswing in sight.