German politicians expressed outrage on Friday at plans by the country's biggest -- and highest earning -- bank, Deutsche Bank, to slash thousands of jobs at a time when employment in the euro zone's biggest economy is at a postwar high. "It's a scandal," the deputy chief whip of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democrat SPD party, Michael Müller, told the regional daily
Berliner Zeitung. "It's outrageous that the earnings expectations are being raised at the cost of jobs." Similar tones were heard from the environmentalist Green party, the SPD's partner in the ruling coalition. Deutsche Bank's cost-cuttings plans were "highly problematic" at a time when unemployment in Germany stands at more than five million, the highest level since the war, said the Green party's finance expert Christine Scheel. But politicians were not in a position to do anything about it, she regretted. Even the conservative opposition was up in arms. "It's a sign that business ethics are in danger of disappearing," CDU parliamentarian Gerald Weiss told the
Berliner Zeitung. On Thursday, Deutsche Bank said it was planning to axe or relocate some 6,400 jobs in all, equivalent to 10 percent of its workforce, after running up a net profit of around €2.5 billion ($3.2 billion), the highest in four years. The aim of the additional blood-letting was to catapult Deutsche Bank into one of the biggest banks in the world in terms of market capitalization from its current No. 23 ranking, chairman Josef Ackermann said.