The Militant (logo) 
    Vol. 67/No. 23           July 7, 2003 
Workers in Germany
protest benefit cuts
Workers protest plans by the German government to cut social benefits. Chan-cellor Gerhard Schröder, who heads a Social Democratic Party (SPD)-Green Party coalition government, is pushing ahead with plans to cut pensions, slash the maximum period during which laid-off workers can receive unemployment benefits, and make it easier for bosses to fire workers. He gained 90 percent support for the proposals from a special SPD conference in Berlin. Meanwhile, metal and auto workers continue their fight to extend the 35-hour working week, officially in place in western Germany, to workers in the east. Some 11,000 members of the IG Metall union have joined rolling strike actions in Berlin, Brandenburg, and Saxony since the first week of June. Bosses’ representatives have whined that they will not be able to meet the demand until productivity levels are equalized across the country.  
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