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Business

Employer's Federation Chief Calls for More Reforms

Germany's employers' federation increased the pressure on trade unions by urging other firms to follow the lead of three of the country's leading companies and implement radical working practice reforms. Dieter Hundt, president of the BDA federation, told the Financial Times that deals done by DaimlerChrysler, Siemens and Bosch to increase working hours without extra pay must be copied by other employers if Germany is to thrive. Last week, DaimlerChrysler announced it would protect 6,000 jobs in Baden-Württemberg in exchange for concessions on working practices, including an increase from 35 to 39 hours a week for services staff. Only a few weeks earlier, Siemens used similar tactics to persuade staff at two sites in North Rhine-Westphalia to work 40 hours a week instead of 35 to avoid their jobs being relocated to Hungary. Bosch increased working hours at one of its French plants.