Business Briefs | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 13.06.2003
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Business Briefs

Deutsche Bahn denies reports it has plans to cut 40,000 jobs, Deutsche Telekom says it will raise phone rates this autumn and a new agreement could put Germany's can deposit law back on track.


Hartmut Mehdorn, CEO of Deutsche Bahn, says he's not planning massive job cuts

Deutsche Bahn denies job cuts

Germany's national railway, Deutsche Bahn, has denied reports that it is planning to slash thousands of jobs. “There are no concrete plans for job cuts in of such levels,” a spokesperson for Deutsche Bahn said on Friday. German financial broadsheet Handelsblatt had quoted Bahn chief executive Hartmut Mehdorn saying he could foresee cutting 10 to 20 percent of the railway's 210,000 -- ultimately trimming as many as 40,000 positions. The news comes after additional comments by Mehdorn conceding that a new pricing system had done more harm than good and would now be overhauled. Mehdorn admitted the system introduced late last year “had a negative impact on our business and hasn’t worked out as we planned.” The system, which many regard as overly complicated, has led to a dramatic drop in passenger numbers and heavy losses for Deutsche Bahn. Deutsche Telekom set to raise prices

German telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom said Friday it would dramatically increase service rates for millions of customers across Germany this fall. A Telekom spokesperson said the monthly line rental cost of €11.82 ($14.02) the company currently charges for its more than 29 million analogue connection customers would rise by at least €1.41. Charges for other Telekom services such as new line installations could rise as well, the spokesperson said. By imposing the price increases, Telekom is hoping to avoid a €12.6 million fine imposed at the end of May by the European Commission, which claimed that Telekom was offering analogue connections to its customers for less than its actual costs, thus making it impossible for other companies to compete. The Commission also ordered Telekom to lower the rates at which it leases access to its lines to competitors.

Deal struck over pesky can deposit system

After massive resistance, German Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin is hailing a partial victory for the country's recently implemented can depost system, which has been the subject of intense criticism from the food retailing industry. After initial resistance retailers on Friday agreed to install 100,000 can return points by Oct. 1 at corner stores, kiosks gas stations and at least one major supermarket chain. But most supermarkets -- including the popular Aldi, Metro and Tengelmann chains -- are still rejecting setting up the expensive return points and have instead chosen not to stock reusable cans and bottles. Under the new can deposit law consumers have to pay a deposit of 25 cents (29 U.S. cents) on single-use bottles and cans and return them to the same store where they were purchased. The law, which came into effect in January this year, is a bid to reduce use of environmentally unfriendly packaging.

Compiled with information from wire services.