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Schröder Warns Against Labor Fights

In view of the continued dissent among workers at DaimlerChrysler, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder warned employers and workers about the damaging effects of fighting over cost-cutting proposals and working hours. "Those who dig ideological trenches are unsettling people and harming the economy," Schröder told Financial Times Deutschland in an interview published on Friday. Schröder recommended that differences over cost-saving measures be sorted out at the company level, and that public discussion be kept to a minimum. On Thursday, thousands of workers at DaimlerChrysler stopped work for several hours to protest company cost-cutting proposals that include reduced paid break time and late-shift premiums. Schröder also appealed for more flexible working hours on case by case basis, so that companies are free to react to market developments.

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