Union calls on state help for ailing Arcandor

Union calls on state help for ailing Arcandor
Photo: DPA
Public workers’ union Verdi has encouraged the German government to provide aid for ailing retail and travel company Arcandor, which runs household names like the Karstadt department stores and Thomas Cook travel agency, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Wednesday.

“All possibilities for stabilising Arcandor should be used,” Verdi head Margret Mönig-Raane told the Essen-bassed paper. “This includes debt guarantees and easing loans.”

The company employs 86,000 workers and is on the verge of bankruptcy – threatening widespread layoffs.

The company’s Karstadt department store division includes world-famous stores such as KaDeWe in Berlin, the Alsterhaus in Hamburg and Oberpollinger in Munich. All three premium stores could be put up for sale, the company reported over the weekend, blaming the recession for reduced sales and a struggle to refinance debt at a time when banks have reduced lending.

Verdi’s Mönig-Raane, who is also on the Arcandor board of directors, told the paper she rejected a proposal to reduce worker wages by a total of €350 million over three years.

“Further cost-cutting by the workers simply isn’t possible,” she said.

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