German privatisation

Wednesday, August 5, 1992

German privatisation

The German government has announced extensive privatisation plans, supposedly to cover the expenses of unification.

The government hopes to raise billions of marks by selling off Deutsche Telekom, the German telecommunications network; Lufthansa, the flag-carrier airlines; some of the federal railways; and a number of the other commercial interests.

The long-term plan is to get the government completely out of business and industry with the sale of more than 20 state concerns, announced Theo Waigel, the finance minister. The government currently holds direct or indirect stakes in more than 400 commercial concerns, including transport, travel agencies, hotels and the Bonn press club.

Privatisation will not help the growing numbers of unemployed in eastern Germany. As of July, two in three jobs in agriculture and manufacturing had disappeared since unification, according to figures from the Institute of the German Economy.

Unemployment is officially 1.3 million, but a further 2 million are not in regular employment and another half million commute to jobs in the west, states Bernd Hof from the institute.

British plutonium

LONDON — British Nuclear Fuels Ltd has announced that it will continue to produce weapons grade enriched uranium and plutonium.

This is despite the US affirming that it will cease production of weapons grade nuclear material.

BNFL contracts to produce nuclear material for the Ministry of Defence. The company is currently negotiating a contract to supply South Korea with plutonium.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has called on the government to halt further nuclear proliferation.

Part-time work

LONDON — Part-time workers are more productive than full-timers according to a study released here.

The new buzz word for short time work, which many workers are forced into for lack of an alternative, is "family friendly". Further, the impression given is that these workers are happier being worked harder.

The report does point out that such work might more appropriately be known as "employer friendly".

'End Cuba blockade'

The World Baptist Alliance Council's annual meeting, held in Jamaica July 13-17, called for an end to the US blockade against Cuba. The meeting was attended by 500 delegates from 140 countries, representing 100 million Baptists worldwide. The motion of support for Cuba was passed unanimously.

... Catherine Brown, Stephen Marks and Frank Noakes

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