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Minister: Apprenticeships need to be part of Wage Deals

Apprenticeships should be part of collective wage agreements between industry and trade unions, Education Minister Edelgard Bulmahn said on Monday. Traineeships must no longer be neglected in negotiations between the two sides, she told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper. Instead, employers and unions should determine how many traineeships each branch should provide and face penalties if they don't stick to the agreement. Bulmahn also reaffirmed the government's resolution to fine companies that did not offer enough apprenticeships to satisfy demand by the beginning of November. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder must force industry to take action through new legislation, IG Metall engineering and metal workers union head Jürgen Peters told the Neue Presse paper. Labor Office statistics released last week showed that 35,000 high school graduates were in search of a traineeship position, but less than 15,000 places were available.