Members of West Germany's Textile and Clothing Union demonstrated in Bonn on Thursday (13 December) against massive lay-offs in the industry.
Members of West Germany's Textile and Clothing Union demonstrated in Bonn on Thursday (13 December) against massive lay-offs in the industry. An estimated 10,000 workers took part in the demonstration, coming from different industrial areas around Germany.
The Textile Union's Chairman, Herr Karl Buschmann, told a rally in the Federal capital on Thursday that, in the past year, 45,000 workers in the industry had lost their jobs, due to factory closures, work cut-backs and mass dismissals. He also claimed that 100,000 workers, in 1,070 factories, had been put on shorter shifts during the pre-Christmas ???riod.
Herr Buschmann blamed the situation on two factors. First, the high interest rates and tight credit policy imposed by the Federal Bank he saw depriving medium-sized textile companies of development loans. The second factor was the trend for manufacturers to shift production away from West Germany, and having work done abroad "frequently in socially unworthy conditions."
According to the Union leader, ever 200 companies have had to close down in the past year - the government's "stabilisation policy" has caused the cut-backs in the industry during progress towards improved cost-efficiency.
Although the Textile Union had received a letter from the Federal government, agreeing to a change in policy towards credit, a move Herr Buschmann described as "a turn in the tide" of government thinking, the Union leader still felt there was much to be done to improve the situation.
The Chairman of West Germany's Trades Union Federation has pledged the support of his organisation's seven million members to the Textile Workers' claim.