13 October 2011

How do they do it?

Had to replace the power outlet in the old VW, and happened to notice the part was labeled, "Made in Germany."

Wow. Even the small parts are German-made? But how can Germans produce a competitively priced car by manufacturing parts in their own country? I was assured by the geniuses of American industry that this is quite impossible.

It must be that German auto-workers are low-paid, low-skilled, and have few job benefits, right?

Well, the internets say German auto-workers have higher take-home salaries than unionized US auto-workers, because German employers don't deduct healthcare costs from paychecks, and German auto manufacturers also provide free day care to employees. Under German law, all employers are required to provide eight weeks of vacation to their employees, and their unemployment benefits are much more robust. There is no US law requiring employers to provide even eight minutes of vacation to their employees. German carmakers have also not yet engaged in massive job-slashing or mass layoffs.

So no, I guess that's not it either.

It's a mystery.

2 chimed in:

cliff1976 said...

because German employers don't deduct healthcare costs from paychecks

uh...they sure do. They're required to.

and German auto manufacturers also provide free day care to employees

Yes, it's called a job. Free daycare for employees' children doesn't happen at my company, but I plenty of mommies and daddies who wish it would.

Under German law, all employers are required to provide eight weeks of vacation to their employees

It's only six weeks. But factor in public holidays falling on otherwise-work-days, and you can squeeze out some more. Particularly if you live in the South.

German carmakers have also not yet engaged in massive job-slashing or mass layoffs.

One could argue that the German mass layoffs were even wider spread than those in the U.S., in that the pain was shared more evenly. Not a single department in our company was unaffected by work slow downs. Some groups worked 50% less than normal in 2008/2009, and took pay cuts as a result. The German government's employment bureau reimbursed up to 70% of the lost wages to the employees. How? The tax system is built to fund emergencies like this.

So we* shared the pain, making it much more manageable.


*Taxpaying employees of German companies, irrespective of citizenship.

Mo Rage said...

Face it, they have a FAR better system than we do. They're smarter. They support their middle class and workers. We just support the uber-wealthy and corporations.

But then, our corporations get to buy our government officials and so, our legislation and government.